New nurse education facility in Birkenhead officially opened.

Posted on 15th October 2018

The University of Chester’s state-of-the-art facility for the undergraduate study of BSc nursing (Adult Field of Practice) has been officially opened in the heart of the Wirral by the Lord Bishop of Chester, the Rt Rev Dr Peter Forster, in his capacity as President of the University Council (its governing body.)

Student nurses in the clinical skills laboratory.
Student nurses in the clinical skills laboratory.

The former Old Market House in Hamilton Street in the centre of Birkenhead was renamed Marriss House after Professor Dorothy Marriss, who was the first Dean of the University’s Faculty of Health and Social Care and former Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

Marriss House represents a multi-million pound investment by the University. It contains a fully-equipped skills laboratory, resembling a hi-tech hospital ward. This includes virtual reality equipment and offers the space and technology to equip student nurses to practice clinical skills ahead of undertaking a range of hospital and community based practice experiences. It also contains classrooms of various sizes, smaller rooms for group work and a fully-stocked library.

Marriss House has already welcomed its first cohort in its Adult Nursing BN (Hons) programme to the new building. The programme is also delivered at its Riverside Campus in Chester; its Warrington Campus and at Leighton Hospital in Crewe.

The adult nursing field cares for people over the age of 18, who are ill, recovering from illness or accident or adapting to life-changing disabilities or long-term conditions. Students on this programme learn how to prevent illness and assess the needs of the patient through acute and long-term illness, promote health and wellbeing, communicate effectively with professional colleagues and provide sensitive support to patients and their families and supporters.

Professor Marriss’s association with the University started in 1991 when as Director of Nursing and Midwifery Education at the Countess of Chester she was jointly appointed by the then Chester College of Higher Education and North West Regional Health Authority, with a remit to merge the Nursing and Midwifery schools based in Chester, Wirral, Crewe and Macclesfield and transfer the provision to higher education.

The project was successfully completed in September 1992, at which time she became the Dean of the new School of Nursing and Midwifery, which then expanded to include Social Work and wider healthcare education. Dorothy’s management and leadership roles widened within the University and in 2000 she became Deputy Principal and later Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

Professor Tim Wheeler, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Chester, paid tribute to her dedication to the institution and to the health and social care profession.

He said: “Naming this building Marriss House is a fitting tribute to all Dorothy has done for the University.

“This facility is in the heart of Birkenhead and we aim to reach out to local residents looking to train as nurses as well as those continuing their professional development or renewing their skills. We will continue to work closely with our NHS partners to respond to the challenges of healthcare in the 21st century.”

Professor Marriss said: “It took my breath away when the Vice-Chancellor discussed naming this grand facility after me. It offers state-of-the-art training to deliver the highest quality graduates to work in the health profession.”

Professor Angela Simpson, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Social Care, said: “Nursing is a hugely rewarding career with opportunities to make a real difference to people’s lives. We look forward to working with our education partners on the Wirral to ensure that local people have opportunities to progress onto our undergraduate nursing programme based at Marriss House.”