Case study

Forgotten Learners: Nursing at London South Bank University

26 Mar 2018

There is currently a shortage of around 30,000 nurses in England. It is critical that the widest possible range of people have the opportunity to study nursing, including mature students who wish to re-skill and up-skill to help ensure that the NHS has sufficient staff to continue delivering world-class patient care.

Across London South Bank University’s School of Health and Social Care, which teaches Adult Nursing and Midwifery, Allied Health Sciences, Children’s Nursing, Mental Health and Learning Disabilities, and Primary and Social Care, 70% of first-degree students entering last year, were mature.

The NHS Trusts the university works with welcome this. As mature learners are typically less geographically mobile, they are often reflective of the communities in which they work. This makes them more likely to stay at the Trust in which they trained, despite the higher costs of living in London. Mature nurses are also more likely to work in parts of the NHS which are hard to recruit into such as mental health and learning disability services.

Many mature students however, have family and financial commitments which can make them unable to take on significant extra debt. As a result, the loss of NHS bursaries has seen a drop of more than 25% in over-25s applying for nursing courses.