Final-year BN (Hons) Nursing (Adult) students earned their stripes with honours, after volunteering to help fight Covid-19 while studying at the University of Portsmouth.
83 new nurses were invited to celebrate with their tutors and guests at a virtual event this month.
The majority of the students had volunteered to work in hospitals and other health facilities to help during the global pandemic, alongside completing the final three months of their course and facing exams.
Programme Lead for Nursing Isobel Ryder said: “We are delighted to be able to celebrate the success and achievements of our second cohort of Adult Nursing students who have achieved their qualifications in the most difficult of circumstances.
“This group were the first Portsmouth students to be deployed to support the NHS during the pandemic. They have worked in a variety of posts, including intensive care, emergency department, oncology, acute medicine and community settings. That they did this alongside completing the academic and professional requirements of their course, is outstanding and we are so proud of them.”
The newly qualified nurses were praised at the virtual celebration for developing and maturing academically and professionally under the most challenging circumstances by Course Lead Pauline McKeever.
She added: “They are now ready to take the next step in their nursing careers and seek registration as an Adult Nurse, with the Nursing and Midwifery Council. As the second cohort for the university, the adult nursing students have been ambassadors for the programme, engaging in the process of giving feedback as the new course has evolved and dedicated to its improvement for future students.”
At Portsmouth’s School of Health and Care Professions, student nurses are taught in partnership with local practice learning partners, including NHS and other health organisations, who also attended the celebration.
Commodore Inga J Kennedy CBE QHNS QARNNS, Head of the Royal Navy Medical Service, Medical Director General (Navy) and a Non-Executive Director at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, spoke to the graduates and said it was a particularly proud moment for her, given the strong links between Portsmouth and the Royal Navy, and her previous teaching experience at the University of Portsmouth. She said she was delighted to see local nurse education going from strength to strength.
One of the graduates, Darren Newman, said: “The celebration event was an amazing opportunity to see people again but also for me to speak and share my experiences around elective simulation. I'm proud to have reached the end of my course and get my NMC Registered Nurse PIN number, but to have Commodore Kennedy come to talk with us and share her experience was extra special.”
Another graduate, Grace Rushmere, said: "Having an online celebration to finalise finishing my degree was unusual, but special nonetheless. Completing my degree was such an amazing achievement in my life and I'm so glad that I could experience this memorable time with my peers and university lecturers despite the unconventional circumstances."
The BN (Hons) Adult Nursing course was launched just three and a half years ago and accepts 120 students a year, with a further 30 students undertaking the new BN (Hons) Nursing Mental Health course, introduced last year.
Last year, the University of Portsmouth became the first university awarded accreditation for the nursing programme by the Association for Simulated Practice in Healthcare.