A dedicated centre to educate student nurses is to be opened by the University of Chester.
The multi-storey Old Market House in Hamilton Street, Birkenhead, is to be renamed Marriss House after Prof Dorothy Marriss who was the first dean of the university’s faculty of health and social care and former deputy vice-chancellor.
The university says the purchase represents a multi-million pound investment with the campus containing a fully-equipped skills laboratory, resembling a hi-tech hospital ward.
This will include virtual reality equipment and offer the space and technology to equip student nurses to practice clinical skills ahead of a range of hospital and community based practice experiences. The building will also offer classrooms of various sizes, smaller rooms for group work and a fully-stocked library.
Students on the Bachelor of Nursing (BN) programme, currently based in the university’s campus at the Clatterbridge Hospital site, will transfer to the new building along with academic and professional services staff with teaching planned to start for the next academic year in September 2018.
The new site will also house a range of postgraduate healthcare students.
The university believes Marriss House will ensure it is in a ‘strong position’ to respond to proposed changes to nursing education in the future as nursing programmes evolve to reflect people’s changing health and social care needs.
Government plans are said to emphasise the need for more care to be delivered at home and less in hospitals with greater focus on public health and health education.
Other programmes could also relocate to the campus in the future if they are able to benefit from the geographical location and new facilities.
Prof Angela Simpson, executive dean of the faculty of health and social care, said: “Marriss House offers prospective student nurses an exciting opportunity to learn within a locally based university site that provides an excellent learning environment including a library and clinical simulation facility.
“Our nursing programmes are carefully designed and delivered in partnership with a range of NHS, private and voluntary sector organisations across the region.
“University of Chester students are highly regarded by local employers on completion of their studies and last year 99% of students completing the BN Honours programme in adult practice were in employment within six months of completing the programme.”
She continued: “It is important to recognise that nursing is an applied discipline, studied at degree level. This means that students study in the university for 50% of their time while the other 50% is spent on clinical placements, where they apply their knowledge and skills and learn to practice as nurses.”
Prof Tim Wheeler, vice-chancellor of the university, said: “The university is dedicated to educating the very best nurses of the future and the facilities at this new site, Marriss House, will enable us to fulfil this commitment.
“We look forward to working closely with Wirral Metropolitan College to provide a seamless opportunity for students to progress from health and social care programmes into nursing and allied health professions.
“It is also an honour to recognise Prof Dorothy Marriss in this way as she played such a significant role in developing the faculty.”