Solution to the nursing shortage in Northern Ireland

Tell us about your journey

The Open University in Northern Ireland saw the number of students triple on the pre-registration nursing programme in 2016, putting the OU in a strong position to address the nation’s critical nursing shortage.

Over recent years, the University has partnered with the government and the statutory sector in Northern Ireland to increase the number of trained nurses, helping many healthcare assistants expand their knowledge and skills by studying for health and social care qualifications.

Participants of this scheme have not only transformed their own lives, but also have a huge impact on society. The OU is especially proud of the achievements of BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing student David Ferran, who won the Student Nurse of the Year Award at The Royal College of Nursing’s Northern Ireland Nurse of the Year Awards in May 2016, and the Northern Ireland Degree category in the first British Education Awards in London in 2017.  David started his OU journey in 2011 and studied part-time whilst working as a healthcare assistant.  For his final year project he developed an advice leaflet Undergoing skin biopsy, which provides patient-friendly advice.

John D’Arcy, National Director of The Open University in Ireland said: “We couldn’t be more proud of David. He is an exceptional role model for his fellow students at The Open University and is developing the qualities of an excellent nurse.”

How has the OU changed your life?

David explains how he felt about winning the award during the British Education Awards ceremony, “I'm very honoured to have been nominated by The Open University and to have won the Northern Ireland regional degree category. As someone who hadn't studied in ten years to now have achieved two distinctions in my final year and a first class honours degree in Nursing I’m very shocked, although my success is attributed to the support I have received from The Open University and the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust. This award has increased my confidence as a newly registered nurse and a lifelong learner and I hope my knowledge can be used to improve the care I provide to patients.”
Published: 31 May 2018