As the NHS turns 70, the University of Hertfordshire reflects on the benefits its successful, collaborative relationship have brought to both the University and the NHS.
Jackie Kelly, Dean of the School of Health and Social Work at the University of Hertfordshire, said: 'With the NHS turning 70, we have a wonderful opportunity to celebrate this incredible organisation which has continued to grow through advancements in research, enhanced knowledge, development of services and expertise, making such a difference to the health and wellbeing of the Nation in its 70 year history.
'The NHS remains the envy of the world with its core values and philosophy being just as relevant and vital today as when it was first founded. At the University of Hertfordshire, the NHS core values are at the heart of all our activity and we are proud to have been providing and developing the NHS’ workforce for well over 20 years. We are a large provider of health and social work education, and our students enter the workforce well equipped with the knowledge and skills required to deliver high standards of care in a diverse range of services across Hertfordshire, the UK and internationally.
'Key to our success is the close working relationships and collaboration with our NHS partners, ensuring that our education and research programmes are of the highest quality and relevant to the ever evolving needs of the NHS and the wider health and social care services. Research is at the forefront of the ongoing success of the NHS, the University and the School has a strong research culture evidenced in the success of our internationally renowned Centre for Research in Public Health and Community Care, (CRIPACC), research units in Allied Health Professions and positions such as the Florence Nightingale Foundation Chair in Clinical Nursing Practice, all helping to drive practice related research. Our research in turn informs our educational delivery enabling us to deliver the best possible educational experience, creating an innovative workforce, fit for the NHS into the future.'
The University’s long and distinguished history of helping the NHS to drive innovation in its workforce has evolved alongside the needs of the NHS. The University of Hertfordshire has been delivering practice-based, health-related courses for more than 20 years and is continuing to shape the delivery of its programmes according to the NHS’ workforce needs.
A new addition to the University’s course offering is the new Nursing Associate and Nursing Degree Apprenticeship degree, the first cohort of which started their training in May 2018. The two types of apprenticeships offered at the University of Hertfordshire are both accredited by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
One of the degree apprentices, Hayley Mitchell, has been a clinical support worker on the renal ward at the Lister Hospital for the last two years. The degree apprenticeship has enabled her to train to become a nurse whilst still working:
“This is the perfect opportunity to become a nurse, which is a vocation I’ve fallen in love with. As I have children I’m not able to do it the original way of applying to do a university degree. The degree apprenticeship means that a nursing career is still accessible to me and opens all the doors I require.”
The University of Hertfordshire continues to help the NHS diversify its workforce by attracting a diverse range of students to its healthcare education courses. Babatunde Elugbaju is a male adult nurse who has just completed his second year of training at the University of Hertfordshire and is looking forward to a rewarding career working in the NHS.
Babatunde is greatly enjoying the challenges of working on placement combined with academic study and some of the life-changing experiences he’s had as part of his nursing course. 'The support from the lecturers has been amazing and it’s been really interesting to work in a clinical environment alongside learning in the classroom again. I’ll never forget being on my first placement, when I helped to resuscitate a patient who had entered into cardiac arrest. Over the following days he recovered completely, in mine and others’ care, and returned home. I knew then that this is what I want to do; save lives and do the best I can to make someone feel better. This always makes me feel happy.'
Babatunde’s experiences of the NHS have shown what a rewarding career nursing can be. 'I’m hoping to develop an expertise in neurology, but if I carry on working as a nurse I will be very happy – it’s an amazing career! The NHS is an exceptional institution to work in; it has achieved so much in the 70 years since its inception and the improvements are ongoing.'