University and NHS team up to launch pioneering Academy of Nursing

17 May 2018

A new Academy of Nursing will combine academic rigour with NHS expertise to raise standards of care.

The University of Exeter has joined forces with patients and local NHS organisations as part of a collaboration that will support existing nurses, ensuring they are in close contact with the science of nursing and the latest approaches through seminars, mentoring systems and conferences.

It will develop nurses so they are at the forefront of regional, national and global advances in care. Devon Partnership NHS Trust, Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust and Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust are all part of the initiative.

The Academy, which launches on May 31, will combine outstanding research, education and professional development to foster a community of constantly curious and innovative nurses in the South West.

Professor David Richards, Head of the new Academy of Nursing at the University of Exeter, said: “Nurses are under intense pressure. Alongside the fundamental duties of caring, they now need to take on increasingly technical and complex procedures. Research shows that the higher the standard of nurse education, the lower inpatient death rates. At Exeter, we will foster nurses who will be pioneers and improve standards in the South West and worldwide.”

Paul Keedwell, Director of Nursing and Practice at Devon Partnership NHS Trust, said: “It is a statement of fact that there is no health without mental health – and nursing is a pivotal profession in the work we do to support people with mental health and learning disability needs. Our nurses are frequently commended for their compassion and dedication but the Academy will help us to ensure that we have great leaders who inspire confidence in their teams and lead by example. In many ways they will be scientists as well as clinical practitioners, empowered to find, use and produce the research evidence that ensures people get the best care possible. It’s an incredibly exciting opportunity for the development of the nursing profession.”

Jane Viner, Chief Nurse at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Exeter University and to be a part of its new Academy of Nursing. We are committed to providing continual development opportunities for our nursing staff and the Academy of Nursing will enable our staff to be at the forefront of research, clinical practice and health policy leadership.

“The Academy will be working alongside us, as well as other local NHS organisations, to build education and research excellence in the region and nursing staff who join the Academy will be empowered to find, use and produce the research evidence that ensures patients get the best care possible.”

Professor Em Wilkinson-Brice, Deputy Chief Executive/Chief Nurse at Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust: “Nursing is a diverse career offering multiple opportunities to positively impact patients’ lives. From core to advanced practise, we want to provide every nurse with the support they need to be the best they can be.

“The Academy of Nursing creates a seat of learning for those new to the profession as well as those more experienced; a place where ambition, curiosity and learning will be actively encouraged and nurtured – that is exciting! The RD&E is delighted to be a partner in its development.”

Darryn Allcorn, Associate Professor at the University of Exeter and Director of Nursing, Quality and Workforce at Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (NDHT), said: “We are excited to be working with the university, patients and other Devon trusts to support nurses to realise their full potential. The launch of the Academy is a big step forwards on a journey that will deliver even higher standards of care to patients across Devon.

“At NDHT our nurses are leading research projects, studying for degrees alongside their work, and applying everything they learn to benefit our patients, and this new Academy will support them to achieve even more.”

The Academy will launch at the Research, Innovation, Learning and Development (RILD) Building on the RD&E site on May 31. To find out more or register, visit the launch website.

Follow news from the Academy on Twitter using #ExeterNurse.


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