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HEIW to fund new student nursing places at The Open University in Wales

THE OPEN University in Wales has been appointed by Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) to train new student nurses.

The OU’s nursing degree scheme allows healthcare assistants to study flexibly for a nursing degree while continuing to work in their local hospital or care home.

The course covers all four fields of nursing: adult; mental health; learning disability; and child and young person.

Beginning in October 2024, the agreement with HEIW will fund a maximum of 130 nursing places a year. The initial contract period is for one year, with an option of extending to a further two.

The OU in Wales nursing programme was established in 2018. Through the OU’s distance learning platform, students are able to learn flexibly alongside their job, combining theory and practice.

Key features of the programme include:

  • learning online via the OU’s award-winning virtual learning environment, and interactive tutorials using Adobe Connect
  • academic and practice tutors supporting students throughout their studies and with learning in the workplace
  • a modern curriculum based on the latest healthcare research
  • bilingual resources and Welsh-language and English-language learning groups
  • supporting underrepresented groups to apply, or to achieve the necessary entry qualifications via a partnership with Cardiff and Vale college. 

Dr Linda Walker, Nation Manager for Wales at the OU’s Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies said: “This new agreement with HEIW is a significant milestone for nursing at The Open University Wales.

“One of the things that makes us stand out as a provider is that we train nurses for the whole of Wales. Students study from home and gain practical nursing experience by working in appropriate local healthcare settings. This means that they don’t have to relocate to study and can continue to serve their local community.

“We have a great relationship with Wales’ health boards, trusts and local healthcare providers. We’ve developed an innovative approach to distance learning, and we put the student at the centre of our teaching – something which brings out the best in them and helps them reach their potential.”

A spokesperson from HEIW said: “We are delighted to work with the Open University to support in maximising opportunities for employed support workers to train to be registered nurses. Widening access to healthcare professional education is important to HEIW in our mission to meet the workforce requirements of health and social care in Wales.”

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