Nurse First: graduates to begin new fast-track programme this month

High-achieving graduates will begin path to nursing leadership.

The first cohort of a new fast-track programme to recruit high-achieving graduates into nursing are due to began their studies this month.

Chief nursing officer for England Jane Cummings announced the first intake of graduates on Tuesday.
Picture: Barney Newman

A total of 40 graduates have enrolled onto the two-year Nurse First postgraduate programme, in which those with degrees in a related discipline are recruited onto learning disability and mental health nursing career paths.

Twenty members of the group will train at the University of Hertfordshire, ten at Edge Hill University in Lancashire and ten at King's College London.

The programme, which was unveiled earlier this year as part of the Next Steps plan for the NHS, is inspired by the postgraduate Teach First scheme, which requires candidates to have a first-class or upper second-class degree in a subject taught in schools.

Warm welcome

Chief nursing officer for England Jane Cummings announced details of the first intake in a speech at the NHS Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester on Tuesday.

'I would like to warmly welcome our newest students to our profession and wish them the very best in their studies and future career. 

'It is an exciting time to be a nurse, specialising in learning disability or mental health, offering many opportunities and making a real difference to the lives of the people we care for.'

Financial support

When details of the scheme were first announced in March, NHS England said graduates on the pilot programme will receive some funding and salary support for an educational course and hands-on experience and training.

‘Ambitious and committed’ students will then be given the opportunity to enter a development scheme to rapidly progress their careers to leadership posts within five to seven years. 

RCN general secretary Janet Davies said of the scheme in March: ‘Measures to increase the number of registered nurses are welcome and the Nurse First initiative is a positive way to attract talented graduates.'

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