Celebrating 50 years of medicine and 30 years of nursing at the University of Nottingham

Monday, 21 September 2020

The University of Nottingham will be hosting a year of celebrations to mark 50 Years of Medicine and 30 Years of Nursing.

2020 marks not one but two anniversaries in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University, both 50 and 30 years of medicine and nursing. To mark these significant anniversaries, there will be a whole year’s worth of activities held throughout 2020 and 2021, culminating in a Gala Dinner on campus next spring.

To begin the celebrations, the University will be hosting an online launch event on the 23 September to celebrate the history of the two schools and to hear from inspiring staff, students and alumni.

The idea for a Medical School at Nottingham was first suggested after World War II. Healthcare in the East Midlands was badly under-resourced. But it was not until a grant was awarded in 1964 that the University was able to establish the first new Medical School in England in the 20th century. The School grew from humble beginnings in the cowsheds and caravan behind the Portland Building on University Park, where it was based before the QMC was opened in 1977.

Geoff Davies was one of the first cohort of 48 students who joined the Medical School when it opened in 1970. After graduating, Geoff joined the RAF, where he stayed for 22 years before becoming a GP and latterly setting up a private occupational health company.

Geoff said: “It was very special to be in the first year of the new Medical School and I think we all felt very proud of what was being built. The staff were exceptional and listened very carefully to our feedback, as much of the course had never been tried before.

“The key advice and lessons I took from my time at the University all began with the letter C, and I have used these words as guiding principles my entire career. They were - to be compassionate towards patients; to communicate - with patients, their families, and your own colleagues;  to continuously review your practice – to look at what you so and how you can do things better; and to be confident in your own opinion. I’ve applied these principles to every aspect of my working life and they have always stood me in good stead.”


First intake of Medical students and the medical school staff in 1970.

In 1990 The Department of Nursing Studies was established in the University, recruiting its first undergraduate students. The Mid-Trent College of Nursing and Midwifery (North and South Lincolnshire, Mansfield, Derby and Nottingham) merged with the University on 1 August 1995 creating a School of Nursing with some 2,000 students, also incorporating the Schools of Physiotherapy and Audiology. 

Over the past 30 years the School of Nursing has evolved to become the School of Health Sciences which incorporates Nursing, Midwifery, Physiotherapy and Sports Rehabilitation.

The School of Nursing, always a leader in education, was one of the first adaptors of Project 2000 bringing a revolution in the way nurses are educated.

Both medical and nursing students from the University have stepped up to help the nation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Final year nursing students, who were all in the last six months of training, stepped up and were counted as official NHS staff during the crisis, and 260 final-year medical students were also graduated early, in order to support the NHS during a period of unprecedented pressure.

John Atherton
During what has been an incredibly difficult time for people within the health profession, it gives me great pride to be able to mark the start of our year of celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the Medical School and 30 years of nursing education in Nottingham. Now, more than ever, we want to celebrate the dedication and commitment of our colleagues and students, and to mark these important anniversaries with a series of events stretching out across the next academic year. The launch event will be a great opportunity to hear from staff and students and past alumni, and to hear about the great work taking place across these two fantastic schools.
Professor John Atherton, Pro Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University

Story credits

For more information please contact Charlotte Anscombe Media Relations Manager for the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences on +44 (0)115 951 5793


Charlotte Anscombe - Media Relations Manager - Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Phone: 0115 748 4417

Notes to editors:

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The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. Ranked 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2023, the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its crowning as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide Sports University of the Year twice in three years, most recently in 2021. We are ranked seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally. Alongside Nottingham Trent University, we lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and is working with local communities and partners to aid recovery and renewal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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