THE first cohort of student nurses in Wales to complete the new pre-registration nursing course have just received their results and it is smiles all round for the newly qualified nurses.
NEWI was the first higher education institution in Wales to offer the course, which has since been rolled out across Wales.
All the students are now working, apart from one who has decided to take a year out.
Pam Hope, senior lecturer at NEWI, said: 'Many of them have been offered permanent positions as a result of their excellent performance while on placement.
'It's really great to see that they are working locally either in the community or at local hospitals. It is encouraging to think we are training nurses here who will continue to work in North East Wales to the benefit of the local community.'
Debbie Williams, one of the students who received a first class honours degree, is doing just that. She is working at Glan Clwyd hospital, Bodelwyddan, and loves every minute of it.
She said: 'I made the decision to pursue a career in nursing after working in a nursing home. I had never considered doing a degree before and when I enrolled I didn't know what to expect.
'It has been a rollercoaster of emotions. The course was very hard work but it was also really interesting and the tutors have been amazing, very approachable and always made time for the students. Janet was my personal tutor.'
Lecturer and tutor Janet Gargiulo said: 'I'm absolutely thrilled. It is always difficult for the first intake on any course - prior to the changes, the pre-reg nursing was a four-year course, now it is only three years. These students have covered the same work in three years, their dedication and enthusiasm has been incredible and it is so rewarding for me to see them all do so well.'
This year has also seen the first graduates of another new course at NEWI.
Students on the post-registration supplementary prescribing course completed their awards in January, again with impressive results.
The graduates of this course are now qualified to take on the additional responsibility of prescribing medication.
This new course aims to meet the needs of a changing health service and its increasing demand for nurses to be qualified to take on extra responsibilities.