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University of Exeter welcomes its first ever nursing undergraduates

Students have the option to aim for dual adult and mental health nurse registration 
University of Exeter, which is pioneering an integrated adult and mental health preregistration nursing programme

Students have the option to aim for dual adult and mental health nurse registration

The first cohort of nursing students to study at the University of Exeter has just begun a preregistration programme there.

The four-year programme consists of a three-year undergraduate course and one-year master's, with students able to work towards dual-registration in adult and mental health nursing if they choose.

The university said it had wanted to develop a nursing course for some time but had decided to wait for the introduction of new Nursing and Midwifery Council educational standards this year.

Holistic approach that combines adult and mental health nurse education

The programme takes an integrated, non-modular approach, with mental health and key principles including scientific thinking and research, part of the curriculum from

Students have the option to aim for dual adult and mental health nurse registration


'We're starting from scratch with a new vision.' Picture: Alamy

The first cohort of nursing students to study at the University of Exeter has just begun a preregistration programme there.

The four-year programme consists of a three-year undergraduate course and one-year master's, with students able to work towards dual-registration in adult and mental health nursing if they choose.

The university said it had wanted to develop a nursing course for some time but had decided to wait for the introduction of new Nursing and Midwifery Council educational standards this year.

Holistic approach that combines adult and mental health nurse education

The programme takes an integrated, non-modular approach, with mental health and key principles including scientific thinking and research, part of the curriculum from day one.

Exeter's head of nursing, David Richards, said: 'The advantage for us in being completely new in nursing education is that we can write the playbook, we can start from scratch and we have senior lecturers who are receptive to a new vision.'

Professor Richards said that without a module-based curriculum, concepts such as 'no health without mental health' are covered in all lectures.

Students undertake clinical placements in mental health, in addition to those in adult nursing, and will be able to work towards dual registration.

Programme developed with input from patients, the public and healthcare providers

Nursing student Jess Speed said she was excited to start the programme, adding: 'It’s brilliant to be among the first intake, as we’ll be able to play a role in how the programme develops.’

In total, 34 students have started the programme with plans to increase those numbers over the next few years. 

The course has been developed in collaboration with patients, the public, and nurses from Devon Partnership NHS Trust, and Northern Devon Healthcare, the Royal Devon and Exeter, the Torbay and South Devon NHS trusts.

Devon Partnership NHS Trust director of nursing and practice at Chris Burford, says: 'I very much hope it signifies the direction of travel for all tomorrow’s nurses.'


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