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Letter: Conference highlights importance of nursing degrees

Diamond celebration of Edinburgh University's nursing studies department celebrates graduates' achievements
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Early this month I had the great pleasure of participating in a conference to celebrate the diamond jubilee of the foundation of the Nursing Studies Department at Edinburgh University, which launched the first nursing degree course in the UK in l960.

It was opened by Professor Roger Watson, professor of nursing at Hull University, who delivered the biannual Elsie Stephenson Memorial Lecture which commemorates the work of the founding director of the Nursing Studies Department.

Mr Watson gave a masterly critical analysis of the research which clearly demonstrated the positive impact on patient care and outcomes delivered by nurses educated to degree level.

Overall, the conference was a wonderful celebration of the achievements of the university's nursing graduates, many of whom are now holding doctorates, who shared their experiences as students and their subsequent rich professional lives.

It was made abundantly clear that, over the years,

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Early this month I had the great pleasure of participating in a conference to celebrate the diamond jubilee of the foundation of the Nursing Studies Department at Edinburgh University, which launched the first nursing degree course in the UK in l960.

It was opened by Professor Roger Watson, professor of nursing at Hull University, who delivered the biannual Elsie Stephenson Memorial Lecture which commemorates the work of the founding director of the Nursing Studies Department.  

Mr Watson gave a masterly critical analysis of the research which clearly demonstrated the positive impact on patient care and outcomes delivered by nurses educated to degree level.

Overall, the conference was a wonderful celebration of the achievements of the university's nursing graduates, many of whom are now holding doctorates, who shared their experiences as students and their subsequent rich professional lives.

It was made abundantly clear that, over the years, Edinburgh University has produced significant numbers of well educated and enthusiastic professional nurses, many of whom have collectively made a major contribution to nursing knowledge  through their research and are now in positions where they are exerting influence and leadership in nursing practice, education, management, research and health policy.           

As I was one of the few nursing educators who had the privilege of promoting, with others, the early experimental nursing courses in higher education establishments, listening to the many presentations was like music to my ears for, collectively, they debunked once and for all the hateful myth that the nursing profession and their patients do not need nurses with degrees.

James P Smith OBE, FRCN
 

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