Hywel Dda University Health Board has hailed the first year of nurse education at Aberystwyth University as a “major boost for the local NHS.”

Aberystwyth University began offering nursing degrees in both Adult and Mental Health in September last year.

The degrees offer students the opportunity to study up to half of their course through the medium of Welsh, and provides student nurses with work placements at Bronglais Hospital and community areas so they gain practical experience in a hospital setting.

In the past year, around 50 students have been placed at Bronglais Hospital and other health settings across the Hywel Dda health board area.

The university has created a suite of high-quality clinical practice rooms within its new Healthcare Education Centre, which is located opposite Bronglais Hospital.

The £1.7 million development was supported by a grant of £500,000 from the Welsh Government.

Mandy Rayani, Hywel Dda University Health Board’s Director of Nursing, Quality and Patient Experience said that the Health Board is proud to be key practice learning partners with Aberystwyth University and has supported the course from the beginning.

“The student journey from classroom to workplace challenges knowledge, skills and professional values and provides opportunities to transfer theory into practice and build critical hands-on skills in the real-world experience required to prepare the next generation of nurses and for their future careers”, she said.

“Collaborative working is the cornerstone of successful clinical experience for nursing students.

“In these challenging times the partnerships between ourselves and higher education are vital to clinical learning and also preparing the next generation of health workers.

“The aim of working in partnership with Aberystwyth University is to benefit the local recruitment and retention of nurses, as well as the potential to inspire new models of healthcare. The collaboration will continue to contribute to enhancing health care provision both locally and beyond.”

Amanda Jones, Aberystwyth University’s Principal Lead in Healthcare Education, said: “We’re very pleased that the new nursing education is already giving a boost to the recruitment and retention of staff both locally and regionally. And, by offering much of the training in Welsh, it’s also benefitting the language provision in our health service.

“We are very grateful to all our partners who have helped make this happen, including the local health boards, the Welsh Government, Ceredigion County Council and Health Education and Improvement Wales.

“Over the years ahead, and working with partners, we are keen to make an increasing contribution to meeting the needs of our NHS. The new Healthcare Education Centre is an important resource in that effort.”