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The Open University celebrates ten years of Nursing impact in Northern Ireland

John D'Arcy, Richard Pengelly and OU student nurse Steven Ryan.

The Open University (OU) today (23 October 2018) celebrated ten years since its first student nurses graduated in Northern Ireland.

Since 2008, over 270 nurses have qualified with The Open University, and they are making a huge difference to patients’ lives in hospitals and communities across Northern Ireland.

Speaking at a special celebratory event at The Open University’s Belfast office, Richard Pengelly, Permanent Secretary of the Department of Health said: 

“I am delighted to celebrate ten years since The Open University’s first pre-registration nursing students graduated in Northern Ireland. The Open University offers an alternative route into Nursing, enabling Health Care Assistants and other Support Workers in our Trusts to study part-time, while also continuing to work in their substantive role.  

Over recent years, the Department, working with the employing Trusts, has considerably increased the numbers of pre-registration nurse training places commissioned under The Open University’s programme. It has therefore been a real pleasure for me to meet OU students and graduates today and to hear of their personal journeys into the Nursing profession.”

One Open University student currently working in the Belfast Trust and studying for a BSc Adult Nursing with The Open University is Steven Ryan from Belfast. After starting out in his career as a bricklayer, Steven unfortunately had an accident and was unable to walk for two years. The care he received during this period from nursing staff inspired him to change direction in life and to start working in healthcare, with the ultimate goal to become a Nurse.

I am very proud to have the opportunity to studying nursing with The Open University and it has supported me in developing a career which I am passionate about. As a Health Care Support Worker, my course is sponsored by my employer – the Belfast Trust. This means I can study part-time alongside my job and keep my salary, allowing me to balance my studies with the other aspects of my life.

I feel Nursing helps me to make a difference, and it impacts positively on people’s lives.

Steven Ryan

John D’Arcy, National Director of The Open University said: 

“Today is a wonderful celebration of a decade of hard work by all our nursing graduates. Each one has committed to their studies but also to making a difference to people’s lives. We are delighted to welcome Mr Pengelly from the Department of Health, alongside students, graduates and all the partners we work with to share in our celebration today.”

Contact: Dr Frances Morton, 02890 536262 or 07500992783.

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Contact Christine Murphy

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Tel 028 9053 6219