University of Plymouth official launch at WESC

WESC staff and University of Plymouth students and staff celebrating the opening of the new School of Nursing facility
WESC staff and University of Plymouth students and staff celebrating the opening of the new Exeter School of Nursing facility

The first cohort to study at a new nurse training facility has gathered to celebrate its achievements with two of the profession’s senior local figures, and other key representatives from the local NHS Trusts in East Devon and Somerset.

Professor Em Wilkinson-Brice, Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Nurse at Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, and Ms Jane Viner, Chief Nurse at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, visited the University of Plymouth Exeter School of Nursing, located at WESC Foundation – The Specialist Centre for Visual Impairment, to mark the launch of the cohort today.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Plymouth, Professor Judith Petts CBE, joined Professor Wilkinson-Bryce, Ms Viner and WESC’s new CEO Jane Bell to cut the ribbon and meet the students, before taking a tour of the facility.

With two campuses already offering BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing, Plymouth and Truro, the University extended its offer eastwards this year to improve student experience by decreasing travel time between homes, lectures and to and from clinical placements.

Student Emily Bowden, from Hatherleigh, explained how the school has helped her to access training that she would have struggled to reach otherwise.

It's now officially open!

“I love studying at the Exeter School of Nursing,” she said. “It’s a close knit community and the commute is a lot better for me – it’s forty minutes tops compared with over an hour to Plymouth, so as a single mum it makes life a lot easier.

“I love my placement too. I’m at Heavitree Hospital day case unit and I’ve had the opportunity to see various procedures from colorectal surgery to pain management clinics, it’s been great.”

Professor Wilkinson-Brice, who is also an Honorary Associate Professor in the University’s Faculty of Health and Human Sciences, said: “It’s been wonderful to meet the students and see the excellent new facility located in Exeter. The Exeter School of Nursing means that we can now provide a local opportunity for local people to start an exciting, valued career in nursing.”

Professor Petts said: “The University of Plymouth is proud of its longstanding, successful history of nursing education, accredited by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Working in partnership with healthcare providers over the past 20 years, it has helped to develop a workforce across the region and beyond and we are delighted that The Exeter School of Nursing is strengthening that provision.”

Student David Squire, who is training to be a nurse after recently retraining as a healthcare assistant, added: “I began nurse training in Portsmouth over 30 years ago but I left early to pursue a career in NHS management and public health. Over recent years I became more involved in direct patient care again.

“The expert staff, modern facilities and varied cohort of students at The Exeter School of Nursing make it a perfect location for me. It’s a very stimulating and supportive learning environment, which makes an excellent combination alongside the strong local connections to clinical placements. The course is therefore providing me with a good foundation for future employment and research opportunities.”

Maureen Biss, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of WESC Foundation, said: “We are delighted that the University of Plymouth have joined us on our campus. This is part of WESC’s ongoing strategy to forge partnerships with those who seek to support the most vulnerable in our community. The University of Plymouth is a fantastic partner and our link will help strengthen our ability to deliver innovative learning and collaborative repurposing of our facilities.”

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