Student nurses from Leeds set to join the NHS workforce six months early
Final year nursing students from a Leeds university are joining the NHS workforce six months early to help ease the strain of treating coronavirus.
The entire cohort of third-year undergraduate students from Leeds Beckett University are expected to take up roles at hospitals across Yorkshire over the next few weeks.
Around 70 students will carry out nursing care on hospital wards and in the community so more NHS resources can be diverted to the front-line in the fight against COVID-19.
Tasks will include patient observations, checking dressings and helping to feed patients.
Four academics from the university have also volunteered to provide induction training to critical carers at the new field hospital in Harrogate which is due to start receiving patients on Sunday and will have 500 beds designated for coronavirus patients.
The move comes after the university last week agreed to provide teaching spaces, catering facilities and meeting rooms as part of a bid by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust to recruit 1,000 non-clinical staff.
Professor Peter Slee, Leeds Beckett University Vice Chancellor, said: “We are extremely proud that each and every one of our dedicated nursing students has made the decision to join the NHS workforce at this exceptionally difficult time.
“The desire and courage they are showing in stepping up to serve our country is a source of great pride for the whole Leeds Beckett community, and we all salute them.
“These nurses will make an invaluable contribution to helping delivering care. From undertaking patient observations, managing patient dressings, helping feed patients, and helping to provide nursing care, their efforts will keep hospitals running for those non-coronavirus patients.
“We are also proud of the role our academics are playing at the forefront of setting up the new field hospital in Harrogate, playing our part in our regional community efforts to face the challenge of COVID-19 head on.”
Health Education England (HEE), who are co-ordinating these plans, will be contacting students over the coming days to confirm where they want to be placed.
It is expected that the majority of adult nurses will either work at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust or Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, whilst mental health nursing students are expected to take up roles in the Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
Some nursing students have opted to return home to support the Trusts in Airedale, Bradford, Rotherham, Gateshead, Calderdale, Doncaster, County Durham, and Lincolnshire.
HEE is now inviting all second years to volunteer as part of the workforce if they are able to do so.
Adam Sharp, 30, is an adult student nurse from Castleford and admitted it was nerve-wracking to be going into the profession when nurses and doctors themselves are dying from coronavirus but told the Yorkshire Evening Post it was the career students had chosen and they were trained for it.
He added: "I think it’s a good opportunity for any student nurse to be proactive, involved, and to gain experience. You see the NHS working at its best through hard times, everyone pulls together, and the teamwork is quite inspirational. That motivates you and you want to be part of the team.
“Nurses and doctors are dying from this virus around the world and the thought of putting yourself into that position is nerve-wracking. But in the same breath, especially as a third-year nurse, you are at that point where you think to yourself this is what I trained for, this is the career I’ve chosen, I have got the skills and knowledge to help and I need to help.”
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