The theoretical component of the course will be predominantly delivered online.
A new online nursing degree pathway will launch in England next year, Health Education England (HEE) has confirmed.
The new “blended nursing programme” has been designed to be more flexible than traditional training routes, focusing primarily on online learning while making it easier to balance family or carer roles and part-time work.
HEE hopes that the added flexibility will lead to a higher number of students from differing backgrounds being able to access the degree and to complete their studies to become a registered nurse.
The theoretical component of the course will be predominantly delivered online, but students will still be required to undertake 2,300 clinical placement hours as required by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
The seven delivery partners for the new degree are Open University & Middlesex University, Open University & the University of West of England, Coventry University, University of Huddersfield, University of Sunderland, University of Gloucestershire and Birmingham City University.
Applications for the course will be open from autumn this year and the first cohort will start in January 2021.
Accelerated by COVID-19.
Patrick Mitchell, Director of Innovation and Transformation for Health Education England, said; “This is a critical and ambitious programme of work, to support the introduction of blended learning degrees in healthcare. It shows the way to the future of educating and training our workforce, with the use of existing and emerging learning technologies.
“It signifies how HEE is working in partnership with HEIs, to establish a radical shift in nurse education in England. We were impressed by the innovation that our chosen universities had put into their plans, especially around looking for new student markets, embracing the widening participation agenda and their use of innovative technologies.
“This approach has been accelerated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it will really help to enable wider access to nursing degrees for people who may previously have had barriers to a nursing career.”
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock added: “Today’s expansion of nurse training is hugely welcome and will help us deliver on our commitment for 50,000 more nurses, as well as offering innovative and accessible new ways to train. This world-leading new blended degree will equip the next generation of nurses with that expertise from the get go.
“It will also open doors by providing more flexible learning options to attract a more diverse range of applicants. This new programme is open from January and I’d encourage anyone interested in a career in nursing to apply.”