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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Southampton leads revolution in nurse training

Published: 17 August 2010

Nurses being trained at the University of Southampton are at the forefront of one of the biggest shake-ups in medical education. The previous government announced that by 2013 anyone wishing to become a nurse would need a degree - a measure designed to improve patient care. The University's School of Health Sciences is championing the move and, as such, has been training nurses to degree level for the more than 20 years. In a recent guide the University was considered to be one of the top three institutions in the country to study nursing.

Head of Pre-Registration at The School of Health Sciences, Stephanie Meakin, herself a former nurse and midwife, says: "The new rule will also improve the status of nurses and dispel the myth that they are a handmaiden to doctors."

Nurses now require a high level of technical competence, medical knowledge and decision-making skills in addition to their more traditional caring role.

Driving forward this new generation of highly educated nurses, The School, one of the major suppliers of graduate nurses and midwives for the South Central region, has introduced degree-only courses a year earlier than the government requirement.

Stephanie goes on to say: "There was a concern initially that applicants for nursing may have been scared off because of the increased academic requirements to study. That and the fact not everyone believes they have the capability to go to university to study for a degree.

"But actually our applications for 2010/2011 were higher than ever. By offering a degree we are giving our students a head start. Graduates leave with excellent problem solving, management and communications skills along with an excellent knowledge of patient care in their chosen specialism. Despite criticism that we are producing a generation of nurses ‘too posh to wash', we are not witnessing that. Nursing is still a caring vocation - it's not something you fall into, it is a calling and always will be."

The nursing degree courses last up to three years.


If you are interested in following up this story, a case study is available to interview on request.

Issued by Rebecca Whitehead, Polymedia, 01329 822866
For further information contact Sarah Dimmer, School of Health Sciences, University of Southampton, 023 8059 8268, ext 28268

Notes for editors

The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for research and scholarship across a wide range of subjects in engineering, science, social sciences, health, arts and humanities.  

With over 22,000 students, around 5,000 staff, and an annual turnover of almost £400 million, the University of Southampton is one of the country's top institutions for engineering, computer science and medicine. We combine academic excellence with an innovative and entrepreneurial approach to research, supporting a culture that engages and challenges students and staff in their pursuit of learning.

The University is also home to a number of world-leading research centres, including the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, the Optoelectronics Research Centre, the Centre for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, and the Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute.

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