Two degrees in two years

Two degrees in two years

CPIT students will soon be able to get two degrees in two years.

CPIT and the University of Canterbury have been working together to offer a unique study pathway to students who already hold a Bachelor's degree to become registered nurses. Students will be able to simultaneously complete both the UC Master of Health Sciences and the CPIT Bachelor of Nursing. Students with any type of Bachelor's degree can apply for the course although a previous study in the field of health or science is an advantage.

In the course, which has been approved by the Nursing Council, students enrol in a Master of Health Science at UC and a Bachelor of Nursing at CPIT.  Previously the pathway took students 2.5 years to complete, but from 2016 students will be able to complete the two degrees in just two years.

Head of nursing Cathy Andrew says the change comes because nationwide students can now complete any Masters programme in just two years. In making the change CPIT is aligning with the Nursing could and working in conjunction with the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB).

She says the programme has proved successful since it was introduced in 2014. "It's a different option for students."

Students are eligible for student allowance while on clinical placements and students receive support for travel and accommodation for out of town placements. Students have access to the range of clinical placements available with CDHB and other providers in the wider Canterbury- West Coast region. The course also allows students to study while completing part time work.

Andrew says the changes to the prescribed qualifications will not replace the current bachelor's degree in nursing programmes. "Rather it provides an alternative pathway for graduates of other degrees to enter nursing through a shortened programme."

The first group of students will graduate from the pathway next year. Will Seed, 24, is currently completing the pathway. He holds a BSC in Psychology from Otago University but after working as a disability support worker for a few years decided he wanted to enter nursing.

"I ultimately felt I wanted a career…that is hands on and varied. When I was researching my options, this course seemed the ideal way to build on my previous study whilst qualifying as a nurse," he says

Georgia Washbourne, 21, began the course at the start of 2015. She had always wanted to pursue a career in health having previously completed her Bachelors of Biomedical Science Majoring in Functional Human Biology.

"I found out about this course and it was exactly what I was after. It meant that I could gain my Bachelor of Nursing but also further expand my thinking and academic skills at the same time," she says. "The course is fantastic…It has been great learning from top academics and guest speakers and the course material is really interesting."

 CPIT consistently has one of the highest employment rates for nursing graduates in New Zealand (over 93% have jobs by the time they graduate), so both Seed and Georgia can look forward to promising careers.

 "I hope that this course will open doors in terms of stimulating and challenging roles in the nursing workforce," Story says.

Washbourne believes her "options are limitless" and plans to take every opportunity that comes her way as a registered nurse. "The course is teaching me to be more of a critical thinker and I hope to implement that in my nursing care."

To read more about the qualification visit