The nursing crisis: how two families are studying together at Oxford Brookes University in Swindon

Written by A Correspondent on .

L to R: Madeleine, Tracy with Katie & Ellie SpantonL to R: Madeleine, Tracy with Katie & Ellie has reported on the local consequences of the nationwide shortage of nurses - made worse by the flow of nurses back to their homes in mainland Europe or to jobs in Ireland. 

Besides their international recruitment drives, Great Western Hospital (GWH), works to catch them young with school visits - including St John's Academy.  It has a close relationship with Oxford Brookes University's nursing courses in Swindon - offering placements to many students during their studies. 

GWH managers will be pleased to know how nursing has become a family affair for some Oxford Brookes students as the university welcomes a mother and daughter student nursing duo to its Swindon Campus.

This month, Tracy joins her daughter Madeleine as a second year student on the BSc Adult Nursing course.  Tracy is an assistant practitioner at GWH and has been an ophthalmic technician and a healthcare assistant since completing her healthcare access course in 2002.

Two years ago, with her children now older, she returned to her studies and successfully completed her Foundation Degree with Swindon College, which Oxford Brookes is linked with as part of its Associate College Partnership.

Tracy is now working towards her adult nursing degree. She always had aspirations of entering the profession, despite working in accountancy for a number of years before starting a family: “Now the time is right to finally return to pursuing my dream career. I’m so lucky that Great Western Hospital and Health Education England sponsor my studies so I can continue to earn and study at the same time and I can finally become a nurse.”

Part of the Joel Joffe Building on the new Swindon campusPart of the Joel Joffe Building on the new Swindon campus2016's first year students ready for placements with GWH & community nursing2016's first year students ready for placements with GWH & community nursingTracy’s eldest daughter Madeleine is already a second year student and started at the University’s newly opened Swindon Campus in January 2017.  It was working at GWH as a healthcare assistant that lead her to realise nursing was what she wanted to do: “It was the best decision I made.”

Tracy’s other daughter Amber, is also planning to study nursing next year.

Tracy and Madeleine aren’t the only mother and daughter students currently on the course. Katie Spanton and her daughter Ellie are also studying adult nursing and due to complete their studies later this year.

Katie says she couldn’t have done it without her daughter: "She’s helped with childcare and been so supportive - I can’t say how grateful I am."

"The placement education unit at Brookes has been so supportive too. They’ve helped us arrange our placements so that one of us can be nearer home for childcare purposes. And the lecturers have been amazing.

“When my husband was going to be posted abroad with the RAF, I thought I was going to have to give up. But my lecturer convinced me to keep going: luckily my husband was posted nearby and, in the end, I didn’t miss any of my course.”

Katie is looking forward to graduating in the summer and she already has a job lined up with community nursing in Chippenham.

Tracy, Madeleine, Katie and Ellie are the latest in a line of families who have studied together at Oxford Brookes in Swindon. In recent years, there have been married couples and a number of sets of twins who have all studied to become adult nurses.

It’s not too late to apply for September 2018 nursing courses. Oxford Brookes in Swindon offers the Adult Nursing BSc and the MSc for students who already hold a degree.  It also has a BSc course Operating Department Practice (ODP).   Swindon Campus is holding an Open Day on Saturday, March 24 for those interested in finding out more. You can book your place online here.  


[Photos courtesy Oxford Brookes University, Swindon]