Northumbria University’s pre-registration nursing programmes have become the first in the country to be accredited by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).
The accreditation covers all four branches of nursing: adult, child, mental health and learning disability at Bachelor level and adult, mental health and child at Masters level.
Dr Linda Prescott Clements, Associate Dean for learning and teaching and the student experience in the School of Health, Community and Education Studies at Northumbria University, said: “This acknowledgement of high quality educational provision brings nursing in line with recognition and accreditation already gained from other national institutions such as the College of Occupational Therapists, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists and the College of Operating Department Practitioners.
“This endorsement reflects Northumbria’s commitment to focus student learning around the delivery of the highest standards of patient care, where the priorities of caring, compassionate practice are underpinned by the utmost professionalism.”
Universities and colleges providing courses for nurses are academically accredited by the nursing regulator the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), meaning that a student who successfully completes an approved programme can then be approved by the NMC as a registered nurse. The RCN’s professional accreditation is in addition to this approval, and focuses on the University’s preparation of nurses for the challenges they face once qualified.
Royal College of Nursing Chief Executive and General Secretary, Dr Peter Carter, said: “I am very pleased that the RCN has been able to provide this accreditation for a pre-registration course for the first time. It’s important to remember that while the regulator approves courses academically, we as a professional body can offer insights and expertise which can help new nurses thrive and give excellent care as soon as they qualify. By accrediting this course, we are helping to shape the professional standards of tomorrow’s nurses. Being a good nurse takes commitment, time, hard work and good role models, and it would be a mistake to think this is easy. Nurses need support from experienced nurses from the moment they enrol to their early years as a registered nurse, and this accreditation reflects that.”
The accreditation follows a re-validation of the pre-registration health programmes at Northumbria which saw changes to the curriculum to ensure that graduates meet the challenges of working in the health and social care services of the future. A greater emphasis has been placed on the safety and wellbeing of patients, both in hospital and in the community. Within the nursing curriculum, the key principles of nursing practice, as described by the Royal College of Nursing, have also informed the development, enabling Northumbria graduate nurses to provide high quality care to the local population.
Margaret Rowe, Associate Dean for pre-registration health at Northumbria added: “This formal recognition of the quality of nursing programmes at Northumbria demonstrates that the quality of heath students’ education is of premium quality.
“The innovative approach we took towards our new health curriculum saw extensive consultation with patients, families, clinical experts, leaders in health professions and students. As such, it will actively prepare our students for careers in the health professions.”