The three-year long course delivers a balance of theory and practice-based development, with part of the course spent at local placements and on campus at UWE Bristol, and the other part studying via supported distance learning with the OU.
Kate and J are in their first year of studying the course – here’s how their journey is going so far:
‘A lot of people like me wouldn’t be able to do a traditional full-time course’
The pandemic has seen our NHS nurses brought into the hearts and minds of people like never before, but for Kate, it was simply a calling she decided she could no longer ignore.
The trained physiotherapist and mum of three children, aged between nine and four, was looking for a new challenge when she spotted the OU’s BSc (Honours) degree in Nursing (Adult) in partnership with UWE Bristol.
The course combines theory delivered via supported distance learning with hands-on experience through practice-based and simulated learning on campus. Annually, there are three practice placements, arranged in the Somerset locality with NHS, private and voluntary healthcare providers in acute hospitals and community environments, including social care.
Managing her Bristol family home, three young children, and sometimes helping her mother care for her father who is living with motor neurone disease, Kate, 37, said the course’s immediate appeal was its flexibility, which allows her to fit her study around her home and family life.
“A lot of people like me wouldn’t be able to do a traditional full-time course,” she said, “But with half the course spent on placements, it means you’re not always at university and that’s gold for me. I do most of my study in the evenings and the set up means you can plan work you need to do each week.
“I have loved the placements. As a student nurse, they get you doing things immediately and you are immersed in the nursing team and people’s care. They are designed to be flexible as there is a lot of understanding that people may have children. I have to be very organised but, luckily, part of the nursing grant gives you funding for childcare, which really helps.”
‘You don’t have to have much experience in healthcare’
After working as deputy manager in a nursing home, Joao sought to develop his skills and follow his dreams towards becoming a registered nurse.
The 32-year-old, Portuguese-born Joao, known as J, is a father of two small children. He had always wanted to go into nursing but felt that after marriage and two children it never seemed like the right time, until he spotted the OU and UWE Bristol’s ‘blended’ nursing programme being advertised.
“You don’t have to have much experience in healthcare. It’s designed in a way that a wide range of people can apply. You start with the basics of health and social care and as you go on it develops into advanced subjects.”
He says it’s hard work but rewarding. His advice is:
“If someone is looking for a nursing career, they have to be sure they want it. It can be difficult getting back into studying but with commitment and hard work it’s achievable.”
J’s first placement was at a community hospital in Frome, Somerset, near his hometown of Bridgwater, which gave him the flexibility to work around his family.
Financially, he qualified for both the annual tuition-fee loan, a maintenance loan and a grant from the NHS Learning Support Fund:
“If it wasn’t for that financial support, I wouldn’t be able to do this study,” he said.
The course is accredited by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and allows eligible students to apply to become a registered, qualified nurse. The BSc (Honours) degree in Nursing (Adult) provides a direct-entry route for individuals in the South West region. The course is ideal for anyone who:
- Needs flexible study
- Wants to remain local to UWE Bristol
- Lives within commuting distance for the hands-on training in state-of-the-art simulation labs on UWE Bristol’s Glenside campus
The OU’s ‘blended’ nursing programme is also available in partnership with Middlesex University (MDX).
Direct entry routes through UWE Bristol and MDX is for residents of England only, with the next cohort starting in February 2022.
Some evidence of providing care to others is desirable, though it’s not essential. To apply for this route, please complete this form as soon as possible and we’ll send you an application pack. Applications close 30 November 2021. Places are limited and we are operating a rolling recruitment process, which means applications will close when we reach full capacity.
For more information visit: www.open.ac.uk/courses/choose/start-nursing