Celebrating 125 years of nurse education in Oxford

Friday, 22 January 2016

125 Year of Nursing  Education launch

Yesterday (Thursday 21 January) Oxford Brookes kicked off the start of a year of special events to celebrate 125 years of nursing education in Oxford.

The training and education of health care professionals has long been a cornerstone of life in Oxford, and the University has played a vital role over the years in working with local partners to provide professional healthcare education.

In the mid 1980’s discussions were first had about the future development of a nursing degree for Oxford, and the transfer of nursing education from the NHS into higher education...This decision was considered a watershed moment as it placed Oxford ahead of most other nursing education centres in England.

Dr Liz Westcott, Head of the Department of Nursing at Oxford Brookes University

The celebrations, in partnership with local health trusts in both Oxford and at the University’s Swindon Campus, will see a host of events taking place during 2016 to mark the occasion, including a lecture series, sponsored by Health Education Thames Valley, social events, exhibitions and fundraising activities.

Dr Liz Westcott, Head of the Department of Nursing at Oxford Brookes University said: “We are very excited to be celebrating 125 years of nurse education in Oxford. The early beginnings of a formal nurse education in Oxford started in 1891 at the old Radcliffe Infirmary on Woodstock Road. 

“There is so much rich history from this time and key developments, for example, it wasn’t until the 1920s that national training rules were introduced, in 1941 the first dose of penicillin was given intravenously in Oxford to man at the Radcliffe, and perhaps most importantly for us, in the mid 1980’s discussions were first had about the future development of a nursing degree for Oxford, and the transfer of nursing education from the NHS into higher education. 

“This decision was considered a watershed moment as it placed Oxford ahead of most other nursing education centres in England by opting for degree-level education. In 1989 traditional nurse training was replaced by a four-year degree in nursing, and The School of Nursing came into existence at the former Oxford Polytechnic, now Oxford Brookes.”

125 years of Nursing Ed launch event

Through their events, the University will highlight much of this history from the last 125 years, as well as producing a special anniversary publication with photographs and fascinating stories covering 13 decades.

Oxford Brookes will also officially launch the Oxford Institute of Nursing and Allied Health Research. This new research centre in collaboration with local health trusts and the University of Oxford will help to increase capacity for world-class research that will enhance the health and wellbeing of the population of the city, the county and beyond.

Find out more about the celebrations for 125 years of nurse education on the Department of Nursing’s webpages.

As well as in Oxford, the University has been successfully educating high-quality nursing graduates at its Swindon campus since 1999. This summer will see the campus move to a larger, improved site in Swindon to significantly enhance its teaching, learning and research.