A new pre-registration degree that aims to help prepare undergraduate nursing students to work specifically in community, primary and social care settings has been launched.
NHS England said the move sought to ‘grow the primary care and community workforce’ in line with its ongoing focus on ensuring more patients receive care closer to come.
The programme will be offered as a blended degree, meaning a mix of in-person, online and digital learning, across three universities in England.
It will be launched as a three-year undergraduate programme or as a two-year postgraduate degree for nursing associates or assistant practitioners.
Those who successfully complete the training will register as an adult nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, but will undergo practice placements focused on community, primary and social care settings.
The programme is to be created at Anglia Ruskin University, the University of Chichester and the University of West London.
Henrietta Bankas, head of blended learning, digital learning and development in the NHS England Workforce, Training and Education Directorate, said: ‘This new blended learning degree will ensure that we continue to invest in the skills that are needed across all sectors and settings in the NHS and social care.
‘It is recognised that the skills required for nursing in community, primary and social care are different to those for nursing in secondary care and by giving them these particular skills we can grow the primary care and community workforce to meet the targets laid out in the NHS Long Term Plan.’
Dr Crystal Oldman chief executive of the Queen’s Nursing Institute said while it was ‘encouraging to see an emphasis’ on these settings, similar programmes did already exist.
She added: ‘Many students from all universities go directly into community and primary care settings as a first destination after registration and it is good that there is an intention to increase this number through this initiative.
‘The difference here is a new approach to teaching and learning which needs to be evaluated in detail at every stage to ensure that it results in the knowledge, skills and competence required for registration as a nurse.’