A RECORD number of nursing students have started at the University of Worcester this year - and will be helping patients in hospitals, GP surgeries and clinics across the region.

The number of nursing students is the largest intake ever, with 207 students starting their studies this month, alongside 27 new Midwifery students.

Earlier this year the cap on the number of Nursing and Midwifery students which universities could recruit was lifted by the government, when the bursary was replaced with the introduction of student loans for those subjects.

As part of their course they will be working in hospitals and healthcare settings across the region, helping local people in need.

Robert Dudley, associate head of institute for nursing and midwifery, said: "Our outstanding reputation as a provider of high quality healthcare education has led to this success.

"In collaboration with our practice partners we will now further develop these already outstanding candidates into highly competent and compassionate nurses and midwives of the future.”

Lucy Capolongo, 20, of Warndon, Worcester, who is studying adult nursing, said: “When I became ill in hospital the nurses that treated me inspired me.

"I want to help people and make their stay in hospital that bit better.”

The students will spend the next three years combining academic study in the classroom with practical skills training in the University’s state-of-the-art clinical skills rooms, and a minimum of 2,300 hours working at placements on hospitals wards, GP surgeries and community health clinics.

Luckson Guvamatanga, 34, of Wolverhampton, who is studying Mental Health Nursing after working as a care support worker, said: “Worcester is one of the top universities when it comes to nursing. The class sizes are also not as large as the other universities so the teaching is more personal.”

Amy Bates, 23, of Hereford, who has started a Children’s Nursing degree and hopes to go into children’s palliative care, said: “I worked as a health care assistant already and I worked as a carer previously. I wanted to take it a step further and be more at the forefront of patient care.”

After passing all their assignments, the students will earn a prized place as a registered nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

The graduate employment rate for Worcester nurses is among the best in the country, at almost 100 per cent.

The University admits two intakes of student nurses each year, in September and February. Competition is strong with as many as 10 people competing for each place.

A limited number of places are still available to join the programme in February.

The next Open Day is being held on Saturday, September 30, between 10am and 3pm. For more call 01905 855111.