April 21, 2022, by School of Medicine

30 at 30: Reflecting on the 30 Years of Nursing Nottingham blog series

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When we started on this journey of 30 blogs to celebrate 30 years of Nursing at Nottingham it was a bit of a leap of faith in terms of the interest we would get. I had my fingers crossed for a range of reflections from a variety of contributors but was in no way able to guarantee this outcome.

Now we are at the end of this journey and I reflect on the quality of the blogs we have received I am overwhelmed, not just by the sheer range of experiences that have been captured, but the emotions that have been expressed. Nursing and Nottingham have brought challenges to many participants but this has been far outweighed by the joy and opportunities presented by both the profession and place.

Our blogs chart some of the most extraordinary stories. They describe the transformation of different areas of nursing, give an insight into the drivers for entering the profession and showcase the multitude of career opportunities available. They also demonstrate the ability of individuals to overcome significant challenges to realise their ambition to join the profession. Our contributors have included current students just starting on their nursing journey through to previous Deans of the School, Dame Commanders of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and everything in between.

Nottingham has trained thousands of nurses over the last 30 years and provided continuing professional development opportunities to thousands more qualified staff. The blogs we have published demonstrate some significant professional impacts from this training but by their very nature can only scratch the surface in terms the impact the University of Nottingham has had on the nursing locally, nationally and internationally.

Maintaining an excellent learning experience is always a challenge and this has never been truer than over the last two years. Our nursing students have been on the frontline of healthcare at the most difficult period for generations. They have seen things they never expected to see and dealt with situations they never expected to deal with. Perhaps counterintuitively however the overall satisfaction of our students with their learning experience actually increased over this period. This remarkable achievement is testament to the dedication of staff to providing outstanding levels of support. This is evidenced by comments from the 2021 National Student Survey that included;

‘I think they [School of Health Sciences staff] have been amazing this year, really updated us regularly, answered everyone’s questions, I feel like they’ve worked so hard during the last year during coronavirus. How they’ve made everything really accessible online ……..they are amazing at supporting students when you have made them aware there is a problem, really willing to help everybody.’

‘I have overall enjoyed my experience at the University of Nottingham. The course has enabled me to develop into the nurse I would like to be and I have felt supported. The placement experiences I have had have also provided me with the knowledge and skills I need.’

I said in my opening blog that the first 30 years of Nursing at Nottingham was not just a celebration of past excellence but a platform for future achievements. This collection of blogs is certainly a tribute to nursing excellence. That we have managed to achieve this wonderful collection during the COVID-19 pandemic when so much was being asked of healthcare professionals is even more remarkable.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all, to a greater or lesser extent, to think about our lives and to reprioritise accordingly. I have worked with colleagues in the School and across all of our local Trusts over the past two years and seen them prioritise patients, students and each other. It has been a truly humbling experience and I feel very privileged to have played a small part in supporting these staff during over this period..

Although none of us knows what the future of Nursing at Nottingham will bring, we can be sure that it will involve boundaries being pushed back and positive changes to the lives of individuals and communities. Whoever is fortunate enough to be Head of School in 2040 when Nursing at Nottingham is celebrating its 50th anniversary will have plenty of excellence and innovation to celebrate.

Professor Joanne S Lymn

Dean of Health Sciences

Posted in 30 Years of Nursing