Sense of community key to nursing success

Shared goal of producing the very best nurses in learning disabilities field bears fruit for Edinburgh Napier programme

Date posted

11 May 2017


Last updated

14 June 2022

The deputy leader of one of Edinburgh Napier’s award-winning nursing programmes believes that fostering a sense of community has been at the heart of its success.

Ian Stables, deputy programme leader within the University’s undergraduate learning disabilities nursing programme, was part of the team that recently collected the Nurse Education Provider of the Year prize at the Student Nursing Times Awards in London.

Seeing off competition from across the UK, the course became the first-ever field-specific programme to take the top title at what is commonly-referred to as the Oscars of the nursing world.

The programme was praised by judges for its constant evaluation and improvement, alongside its approach by its committed and enthusiastic staff who instil a sense of passion and pride in everything they do.

For Ian, the steps taken to promote a sense of community across the programme has been a significant part of this success; an aspect that appears even more impressive given that the majority of those studying on the programme are remote students.

From simple things like ensuring a door is always open for those looking for support, to setting up a Facebook group that brings current students and graduates together to share help and advice, the emphasis is firmly on the team rather than an individual.

He said: “From the academic staff through to the students themselves, there’s a real sense of togetherness across the programme – there is no them and us, it’s simply we.

“A large number of those studying on the learning disabilities programme are remote students so we’ve really made a concentrated effort to ensure that those located throughout Scotland don’t feel like they are on their own. Our tutors are very approachable and we’ve taken big strides in our online work to ensure the learning and student experience is as efficient as possible.

“We’ve also got a really strong support network between our students and graduates themselves. We’ve got a Facebook group for all students, administered by us but very much led by them in that they share resource and advice consistently between year groups and with graduates. It’s been a fantastic tool for us.

“The students themselves have also played a massive role in our success so far. Individuals who study learning disabilities often have a personal connection to the area. They’ve maybe worked in services before, as support workers or have a family link so we are blessed with students who really want to make a difference.

“The programme itself is challenging and we don’t make any excuses for that. But our staff all share the same goal in wanting to produce the very best nurses in the learning disabilities field; by both challenging and supporting them, we can do just that.”

School of Health & Social Care

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