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Queen’s first-ever Graduate-Entry Masters in Professional Nursing enjoy graduation celebrations

In 2020, Queen’s University introduced a new a two-year innovative Masters programme in professional nursing, aimed at existing graduates from other disciplines who wanted to move into a career in Nursing.   

The programme, which is the first of its kind on the island of Ireland, provides a new route for individuals, already educated to degree level, to become Registered Nurses in two years. It was developed and co-produced with the voice of all stakeholders at the table – including the Department of Health, practice partners, service users and carers and Queen’s students.

This partnership is key to ensuring that the programme delivers an excellent student experience, where professionalism, problem-solving and interdisciplinary team working have been prioritised as a means to address the current workforce challenges. This Graduate Entry MSc programme (GEMS) provides registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, as well as a Masters level qualification, helping graduates to quickly build a career pathway in line with the Delivering Care workforce Strategy. 

These MSc places are commissioned by the Department of Health with no fees for the students and a bursary is also provided. Pathways are available in all four fields of Nursing including Adult, Children and Young People’s Nursing, Mental Health and Learning Disability Nursing. A Midwifery Pathway is also available. Importantly 50% of the programme is delivered within clinical practice settings to ensure graduates’ safety and competence.  

Speaking about delivering this programme, Professor Donna Fitzsimons, Head of School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s University: “I am really proud of this programme because of the genuine partnerships that enabled it to succeed even during the most challenging of times within the NHS. Speaking to these graduates I am filled with anticipation regarding what they will do to improve patient care because they have the knowledge, skills and determination to make a real difference.”

Minister of Health, Robin Swann said: “It is an honour for me to be here today to celebrate the success of the first cohort of newly qualified nurses in graduating from this Masters programme which has been financed by the Department of Health through funding provided by the New Decade, New Approach Agreement.

“These students will be joining colleagues across nursing disciplines who have provided exemplary service to our community, and I wish them well as they embark on their nursing career.

“I would also like congratulate the staff and lecturers here at Queen’s University who have helped these students achieve so much during their time on this course and wish them well for the future.”

Chief Nursing Officer Maria McIlgorm said: “I want to take this opportunity to congratulate these students on successfully completing their studies and thank them for their valued contribution to frontline services during the pandemic. 

“You are entering into the nursing profession having learnt much through this excellent and innovative programme. I wish you well as you set out on your career and continue to learn and build your skills, always putting the patient, their family and community at the centre of all you do and leading with compassion and empathy.”

The first ever graduation ceremony for this programme will take place on 13 October in the Whitla Hall for graduates in Adult and Children’s Nursing. The Minister for Health, key civil servants and senior members of the NHS nursing workforce are due to join in the celebrations.