Why has this new approach to nurse training been adopted?
Health Education England has developed the programme which opens up the nursing profession to a much wider group of people who have the skills and aptitude to nurse, but whose current situation doesn’t allow them to study in the traditional way. This may be due to caring commitments, physical access or other barriers to study that a blended approach will support.
This is significantly different offer in nursing education that will support the growth a digitally-expert and professional nurse workforce suited to the demands of care and service now and in the future. It is also hoped that by promoting alternative routes into the nursing a greater number and a more diverse student nurse population will attracted to the profession.
It will give trainee nurses easy access to new and emerging technologies and will help them and their employing trusts meet the requirement for strong digital capabilities. It will also give the NHS access to a twenty-first century workforce that is agile and enthusiastic about change.
What is Blended Learning?
For this course blended learning means the use of a combination of learning approaches supported by technology. For example, some theory topics will be delivered online either in a group or for you to study on your own. Using technology, you may be immersed in a learning environment, using virtual reality-type sessions similar to gaming or in online training labs where you work your way through a series of tasks and skills tests. Some sessions could be ‘face to face’. It all depends on the best option for the topic you’re learning at the time, and your course provider will be able to give you full outline of the programme.
What technologies will be used to create the learning environment?
There will be a range of technologies employed to successfully manage the various aspects of the course. These include Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Simulation, Avatars, gaming, Virtual Learning Environments (VLE) and flipped classrooms.
The technologies being used has been reviewed by learning technologists to ensure that they are effective in providing effective results, particularly within education.
What qualification will I gain?
When you successfully complete the course, the minimum academic award will be a bachelor's degree. The course covers all the content for you to meet the requirements to register as a nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Council Students can then go on to study for a masters or a specialist area of nursing if they want to. However, if you already have a degree in certain subjects, you can gain a masters from the course.
Will I be a fully qualified nurse by successfully completing this course?
Yes. The course covers all the content for you to meet the requirements to register as a nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Will completing this course qualify me to work as a nurse in every field of nursing?
This course is specifically designed for registration in the adult nursing field of practice. A registered nurse in this field of practice has an extremely diverse range of care opportunities across health and social care.
Once qualified, you will be equipped with the knowledge and expertise to study further and gain specialist skills in other areas of nursing.
How long does it take to complete the course?
We have created this course specifically to allow flexibility to people who have commitments such as a young family or caring responsibilities and we are keen to make it as easy as possible for people to complete the course.
For most students the course takes three years to complete however if students need more flexibility, they can take up to a maximum of five years.
Does the course cost the same as a traditional degree?
Yes, course fees are the same as you will get the same, high-quality level of training and support as you would if you were attending university to study for a traditional nursing degree. However, there’s financial support for students on health-related courses.
Can I study on this course part time or flexibly?
Yes. For this course we use the term blended learning as it is a combination of learning approaches supported by technology. The course allows you to fit your theoretical learning around your studies, work and life, supporting you to learn when and where is best for you. There will be some flexibility with the practice placements to fit with your needs as much as possible.
What are the entry requirements for this course?
It is advised that you check with your course provider (the university providing the blended learning degree) to determine the entry requirements prior to applying.
How will I get the practice I need within a clinical setting?
An important part of your studies is to make sure you get the right amount of practical, hands-on experience. As a nursing student on this course, in addition to the wide use of digital technology to help you study, you will spend up to 50 percent of your time on placements in a variety of care settings developing valuable skills and knowledge. You will work with patients, carers, practice assessors and a wide range of health and social care professionals.
All the universities delivering the blended learning nursing degree have formal arrangements with local clinical-practice providers across the health and care spectrum, including hospitals and in the community.
There will be some flexibility with placements to fit with your needs as much as possible and this information should help you chose which university to study with depending on where you want to attend your placement.
Who are the course providers delivering the course?
Health Education England has commissioned seven universities to deliver this new, blended learning course. They are:
- Birmingham City University
- Coventry University
- University of Gloucestershire
- University of Huddersfield
- University of Sunderland
- The Open University and Middlesex University
- The Open University and University of West of England
How have the universities responded to this new way of delivering the degree?
All Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) – such as our course providers - are becoming equipped to offer a vast range of learning and education in this way. Some organisations are leading the way and have delivered courses in this format for a long time.
Many have robust systems to respond to technological development in education at pace, ready and able to maintain or exceed student experience of learning. At the same time, all HEIs need to consider the impact of more remote study on their students’ personal wellbeing and opportunities to socialise, providing effective support and access to both staff and other students.
This style of training may be new to some educators who will need support to upskill and develop their current faculty staff as well as attract new people and innovative ways of teaching to rise to the challenge.
Which aspects of the course will be taught online?
A significant proportion of the theoretical learning will be delivered online. Your chosen course provider can give you full details of the syllabus on offer which will outline exactly how each module will be taught.
Do I need a computer to join the course?
You will need to have a device that allows you to connect to the internet with applications available such as email, word processing, secure file storage and ideally a stable broadband connection. The course provider will be able to give you a list of requirements, most of the applications are free and/or supplied by the university. Also, they will be able to advise you on how to get the technology (e.g. computer) you need, if you haven’t already got one.
I am not very good with technology; will this course help me become more confident using it to study?
Yes, this course is aimed at people who may not be able to access learning in the traditional way, so the emphasis is on using digital technology. However, if you need help to improve your digital skills you will get help from your course provider.
An element of enrolment will help identify your digital skills gap and if needed, you will be given support and training.
I live in an area with poor internet connection; can I still access this course?
Yes. We understand that some areas of the country have poor internet connection and course providers have developed alternative ways in which you can access learning materials, such as downloaded materials available offline or access to internet cafes and libraries.
English is not my first language; can I still apply?
Yes, but you will need to meet the pre-requisite English Language requirement for the course, you can find this on the any of the course providers’ website.
I will be a mature student, is this course suitable for me?
Yes, mature students are actively welcomed to join the course and enter the nursing profession; we particularly value the wealth of transferrable skills that you will bring to the course and profession.
I have a disability or health condition, is this course suitable for me?
Yes. People with some disabilities can have long and successful nursing careers. Nurses do need to be able to carry out safe and effective care without supervision and good health is necessary to practice as a nurse. Your course provider will have embedded teams to discuss your specific needs to help you get the most from the course and your learning experience.
Is support provided to help me with my learning?
Yes. All course providers offer comprehensive support including direct access to tutors, as well as additional materials, tools and techniques. These can include developing study skills, managing online learning, taking care of your wellbeing whilst studying and much more – all to enhance your learning experience whilst on the course.
Will I be able to interact with lectures and other students?
Yes. Each course provider has a different approach, but overall there will be many opportunities to interact with your lecturers other students on the course using a variety of social media tools, managed learning environments, tutor-led group chats and online discussion forums as well as face-to-face meetings and group teaching. Your practice placements will allow you to interact with other medical professionals and patients too.
Socialisation and interactivity are critical elements to effective learning and students on blended learning courses will get the chance to experience some of the social aspects associated with university including online freshers’ weeks, outreach activities and virtual social hubs.
I qualified as a nurse in another country; can this course help me convert my qualification?
No, you will need to check on the Nursing and Midwifery Council website for information on the requirement to register as a nurse if you were trained outside the EU / EEA.
Do I have the option to defer my entry onto this course?
Yes, you will have the opportunity to discuss with the course provider about deferring your entry. Individual universities will have policies in place for such a situation.
How does this style of learning differ from traditional nursing degree courses?
Traditionally, significant amounts of the theoretical learning for pre-registration nursing degrees have been delivered as face-to-face training. This programme uses, online learning and face to face practice learning that is complemented by the use of appropriate digital learning technologies, including immersive technologies.
Why was this style of learning developed?
To effectively respond to the impact of new and emerging technologies in healthcare and a requirement for a workforce with strong digital capabilities skilled and ready to high quality, safe 21st century care we need to look at different approaches to educating nurses and other health and care staff.
National policy has informed this style of learning to:
Create an accessible nursing degree programme using innovative means in digital and other technologies
Attract greater numbers and a more diverse student nurse population by promoting alternative routes into the nursing profession
Potentially, create a significantly different offer in nursing education that will support the growth of an expert and professional workforce, suited to the demands of healthcare now and in the future
Was this course planned in response to the coronavirus pandemic?
This work started over a year ago, the pandemic has increased interest in the programme, which has resulted in consideration for other areas of healthcare training and setting some standards around provision of such courses.
Will this approach change the nursing profession?
This is simply a new way of learning and on completion the nurses emerging from these courses will be fully equipped and as highly skilled as their colleagues who have studied in the traditional way.
In addition to this, these nurses will be particularly confident in the use of digital technologies and in adopting new ways of working, while giving their patients the same, high quality, and potentially a new experience of care.
Is it likely that all nursing degrees will be delivered in this style in future?
Health Education England is continually exploring different approaches to learning for the health and care workforce. Working with regulators and broad range of educators we are committed to ensuring we find new ways of study to suit different learning needs, ensuring equity of access and effective use of evidence to inform best delivery of contemporary nursing education.
Last Updated 02/09/2020