University of Portsmouth training programme helping to combat NHS nursing shortfall

Nursing students in the centre for simulation in health and care

Many UK applicants to nursing courses have not had the chance to undertake significant work experience as a result of the pandemic.

  • 19 May 2022
  • 3 min read

With the NHS struggling to increase the number of home-grown nurses joining the register, a new, innovative placement opportunity at the University of Portsmouth is helping to fill the gap.

This week data from The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) revealed nearly half of the new nurses and midwives registered to work in the UK in the past year have come from abroad. It also showed the numbers leaving the profession had risen.

Many UK applicants to nursing courses have not had the chance to undertake significant work experience as a result of the pandemic.

To help combat this, The University of Portsmouth’s School of Health and Care Professions has been running a simulated six-week placement for Adult and Mental Health Nursing students in their final year.

Simulation has been in greater demand since the Covid-19 pandemic put increased pressure on the number of placements that the NHS is able to offer.

Our programme is giving 80 student nurses the opportunity to finish their course on time and seek registration as a nurse

Dr Isobel Ryder, Associate Head of Nursing at the University of Portsmouth

Associate Head of Nursing at the University of Portsmouth, Dr Isobel Ryder, said: “Final year students have been most impacted by Covid-19, but have to meet high standards in order to become registered nurses, including 23 hours of practice-based learning.

“Our programme is giving 80 student nurses the opportunity to finish their course on time and seek registration as a nurse, with the NMC, before joining the workforce.”

The simulated placement has been paid for using a £300,000 grant from Health Education England, and includes working with standardised patients in the University of Portsmouth’s simulated wards and community settings.

Facilities include realistic mock-ups of home, GP and hospital settings. It also includes the Anatomage, which is the industry leading software for studying anatomy and dissecting the human body.

Simulation-based education gives students time to practice technical and communication skills in a safe and supported learning environment. Paid actors undertake roles as patients alongside the academic facilitators.

The University is also working in partnership with local further education college partners to support new and existing course development for students who see a career pathway as a registered nurse.