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Educational aims

The degree aims to:

  • provide access to a flexible programme of study that will enable registered nurses to remain work based
  • consolidate and build on previous professional and academic learning experiences
  • develop their individual nursing practice and contribute to their lifelong learning journey
  • challenge registered nurses to critically evaluate the evidence, knowledge and contemporary professional arguments underpinning practice in order to contribute to the development of nursing
  • assist registered nurses to acquire the qualities and transferable skills necessary to fulfil the requirements of qualification at honours degree level and also for employment as a graduate nurse.

Learning outcomes

The degree provides opportunities for you to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas.

Knowledge and understanding

After studying this degree you should be able to:

  • demonstrate a systematic knowledge and understanding of the factors underpinning person-centred practice in your own care setting
  • demonstrate a critical understanding of the contribution and limitations of relevant research and how this can be used to enhance practice
  • demonstrate a critical understanding of contemporary leadership and the likely impact of nursing leadership on the development of health care
  • demonstrate a critical appreciation of relevant health care strategies, policies and guidelines and their implications for nurses in relation to improving health care
  • demonstrate how contextual knowledge can affect health and well-being within differing care settings.

Cognitive skills

After studying this degree you should be able to:

  • provide critical and reflective analysis of complex aspects of nursing practice, using relevant and established theoretical frameworks and recognising the provisional nature of knowledge
  • synthesise evidence to support proposals for innovation and change to enhance service delivery and improve health outcomes
  • rigorously evaluate research and other forms of evidence, including health strategies, policy and guidance
  • support personal and professional development through the refined skill of reflection.

Practical and/or professional skills

This degree will help you to develop the key attributes of expert nursing practice as expressed by the five practice links: Holistic practice knowledge; Saliency; Knowing the patient; Moral agency and Skilled Know-How.

Key skills

After studying this degree you should be able to:

  • access, retrieve, interpret and utilise information and evidence appropriately including the use of information technology
  • demonstrate effective communication skills
  • demonstrate personal organisation and responsibility
  • exercise effective decision making and initiative
  • demonstrate an engagement with continuing professional development
  • articulate the importance of involving service users, carers and supporters.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

Learning is undertaken via print-based learning materials, developed by acknowledged experts. The materials are specifically designed to enable you to build on your existing knowledge and to access new knowledge through a series of carefully planned learning activities. These activities will encourage you to explore module information through reflection, challenging assumptions and beliefs, and linking appropriate theory to your own nursing practice.

For each module, you are provided with selected readings (offprints) specifically linked to the core Study Guide text. You are also provided with carefully selected additional learning resources, such as a module-specific annotated list of further reading and related online learning materials.

Your learning is also facilitated by a system of tutor support that includes one-to-one contact, optional face-to-face group tutorials, peer support and detailed written feedback on assignments.

Assessment will be via compulsory, linked, formative and summative elements. Different types of written assignment are undertaken, enabling you to develop a wide range of academic writing and presentational skills at Honours level. Module-specific grade descriptors make explicit reference to each of the module learning outcomes.

Assessment of practical skills is not a feature of the degree, as all degree students are qualified nurses and as current Nursing and Midwifery Council (or equivalent statutory body) registrants demonstrate skills commensurate with entry onto the professional register.

The learning undertaken via print-based learning materials is designed to develop the acquisition of transferable skills and personal qualities, in addition to enabling you to meet the other learning outcomes. Each module requires you to demonstrate engagement with and development of these skills. Study materials are designed to develop the transferable skills through a range of learning activities. An icon in the Study Guide highlights to you when the content relates directly to the use and development of a particular transferable skill.

Detailed written feedback on assignments also facilitates the learning of transferable skills.

The degree focuses on developing professional nursing practice and, due to the mode of delivery (distance learning), does not include the teaching or learning of specific practical nursing skills. However, a fundamental degree philosophy is for you to apply your theoretical learning to your practice setting.

The five practice links integrated across all modules of the degree are designed to facilitate applying theoretical learning to workplace practice. These links represent desirable characteristics of practice and the personal qualities considered necessary to enhance patient care. Each link is developed thematically through all the degree modules. They appear within specially designed learning activities interspersed throughout each Study Guide. An icon is used to alert you to the potential practice link.

All module assessments are designed to enable you to draw on your practice in some way.