University invests in the future of nursing

Posted on 9th April 2018

A dedicated facility to educate student nurses will be opened by the University of Chester in the heart of the Wirral.

Marriss House
Marriss House

The former Old Market House in Hamilton Street, at the centre of Birkenhead, will be 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.

The purchase represents a multi-million pound investment by the University. It will contain a fully-equipped skills laboratory, resembling a hi-tech hospital ward. This will include virtual reality equipment and offer the space and technology to equip student nurses to practice clinical skills ahead of range of hospital and community based practice experiences.

It will also contain classrooms of various sizes, smaller rooms for group work and a fully-stocked library.

Students on the BN Nursing programme, currently based on the University’s premises at the Clatterbridge Hospital site, will transfer to the new building, along with academic and professional services staff, with teaching planned to start for the next academic year in September 2018. The new site will also house a range of postgraduate healthcare students on programmes such as MSc Art Therapy; Non-Medical Prescribing and a range of other courses.

The new facility will ensure that the University’s Faculty of Health and Social Care is in a strong position to respond to proposed changes to nursing education in the future. Nursing programmes are evolving to reflect the changing health and social care needs of the population. Government plans emphasise the need for more care to be delivered at home and less in hospitals with greater focus on public health and health education.

Other programmes could also relocate to Marriss House in the future if they are able to benefit from the geographical location and new facilities.

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.

The University currently delivers its Adult Nursing BN (Hons) programme 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 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 for the patient and their families.

Professor Angela Simpson, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Social Care, said: “The new site at Marriss House, Birkenhead, offers prospective student nurses an exciting opportunity to learn within a locally based University site that provides an excellent learning environment including a library and clinical simulation facility.

“Our nursing programmes are carefully designed and delivered in partnership with a range of NHS, private and voluntary sector organisations across the region.  University of Chester students are highly regarded by local employers on completion of their studies. Last year 99% of students completing the Bachelor of Nursing (BN) Honours programme in adult field of practice were in employment within six months of completing the programme.

“It is important to recognise that nursing is an applied discipline, studied at degree level. This means that students study in the University for 50% of their time, while the other 50% is spent on clinical placements, where they apply their knowledge and skills and learn to practice as nurses. Students are supported in practice by clinical mentors.”

Professor Tim Wheeler, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Chester said: “The University is dedicated to educating the very best nurses of the future and the facilities at this new site, Marriss House, will enable us to fulfil this commitment.

“We forward to working closely with Wirral Metropolitan College to provide a seamless opportunity for students to progress from health and social care programmes into nursing and allied health professions.

“It is also an honour to recognise Professor Dorothy Marriss in this way, as she played such a significant role in developing the Faculty.”