Students stepping up to support the NHS

The University is working with NHS Trusts, professional and awarding bodies to ensure final year students from across the Faculty of Health can volunteer to enter the workforce as soon as possible. Many of our students have already taken the opportunity to bravely enter the NHS workforce early.

 

I am proud to be joining the NHS

Sam, final-year medical student


This is an incredibly unique opportunity that has fallen unto us that no other cohorts have experienced and provides us with the ability to make a difference when our country and NHS need us the most.

Currently, the plans are for us to start work as Year 5 student volunteers, which is a similar role to what we do day to day, but with increased responsibilities. This means we can get into the hospital and start working as soon as possible to help reduce the burden on the current staff and allow them to be relocated to key areas of the hospital that need them the most.

In these uncertain and frightening times, it is incredible to see all of the NHS staff continuing on and doing everything in their power to protect the health of the nation. I think I speak for all of my cohort when I say that I am proud to be joining the NHS and look forward to working as a doctor for many years to come.

The medical school has been in regular contact with us regarding any updates on when we can start and what roles are available. They ensured that we completed all of our clinical assessments in the weeks before lockdown so that we would be in a comfortable position to graduate when the time comes.

On top of this, one of our lecturers has set up a microbiology page on Facebook where he posts regular up to date medical articles on COVID-19 and has given us virtual teaching through Zoom. He also answers questions or concerns we have and posts fun quizzes to keep everyone occupied. Having this space helps us to keep the medical school community together and united.

 

Medicine is my purpose and passion

Abigail, final-year medical student


I am one of many medical students graduating early as a Doctor to join NHS frontline staff. I will be joining the NHS workforce to keep other wards running while more experienced staff care for the patients with COVID-19. It is a scary time for us all however I am confident, capable and kind. I am ready to take on this role as I have worked hard throughout my degree, been supported by the University and the love from my brilliant family and friends. 

It is an honour and a privilege to be stepping up during this pandemic to help out colleagues and care for patients.

It has certainly not been the way I thought my medical degree would finish, and I will forever be grateful to the University of Plymouth for the best years of my life thus far. I have grown and matured into the person, and professional, I always wanted to be. 

I am very proud to be Dr Abigail Lewis, University of Plymouth graduate.

 

An honour to work on the front line

Ashleigh, final-year paramedic science student


Ordinarily, we would be finishing our final few modules and getting ready to enjoy our last summer break before taking on full time roles in our chosen career. However, since the coronavirus pandemic, things have moved incredibly quickly.

In just a few short weeks, many students in my cohort are now on the HCPC temporary register as Newly Qualified Paramedics (NQP) – working under that protected title as autonomous professionals. We will not be returning to university and instead will be working full time for our local ambulance service. Alongside this, we will be continuing our studies through distance learning – trying to complete all of our assessments by August. 

It is an honour to be asked to register early as an NQP to assist our local ambulance service, local community and the NHS at this critical time. My colleagues and I have worked very hard over the last three years to get here and it is a privilege to take this opportunity to work on the front line.

Our local ambulance service has ensured those of us who volunteered are appropriately trained and supported through emergency driver training, induction courses and preceptorship and the programme team at the University have also shared their support and guidance. Many of us are undergoing training now, with some of us expecting our first shift in the next couple of weeks.

In the current global pandemic it is fair to say I am nervous and apprehensive about the potential danger that myself, my family and my wider NHS colleagues are facing. However, I am excited to be able to assist my colleagues on the frontline and to put the last three years of training into practice.

 

Ready to face the challenges

Phoebe, third-year student child health nurse


As a final year student children’s nurse, the opportunity to join the NHS workforce and offer our skills, albeit earlier than we anticipated, is a huge privilege and honour. Whilst the pandemic has resulted in much uncertainty and risk, I have found great comfort in the number of volunteers, final year healthcare professionals, and nurses and doctor who have returned to practice, in a mass effort to offer aid, and ensure that the National Health Service will not be beaten by this virus. A reflection of the incredible teaching we have received, and a desire we all have to help as many people as we can, wherever we can.

For final year student nurses, this means that we will be going into hospitals, utilising the skills and knowledge we have established throughout our degree, alongside developing skills and competence in new tasks, under registrant supervision. An opportunity that enables us to provide additional support to wards and departments, enabling qualified professionals to be relocated where they are most needed in the hospital, whilst ensuring that all patients are receiving the highest quality nursing care in these unprecedented times. 

I speak on behalf on my cohort when I say this is an opportunity that although a little daunting, we feel prepared for, excited about and ready to face the challenges that confront us, with the ongoing support of the University.

As a very close knit, and relatively small cohort in comparison to other fields of nursing, the peer support has always been exceptional. However, in recent months this has been magnified, and I feel enormously lucky to stand beside the most incredible peers, but more importantly friends, as we enter this journey together. From daily group chat queries, messages of hopes and positivity, to group quizzes and skype meetings; everybody has recognised that we all face different challenges at this time, and without question or prompting, have come together as one.

And it goes without saying, that this team spirit is inspired by the remarkable support and effort from the child health nursing academics. The task they have had in revising assignment deadlines, altering teaching styles to online digital learning, and responding promptly to meet the needs of all students whilst facing ever-evolving changes, has not gone unnoticed and is hugely appreciated by all. The changes they have faced are a real test of skills and logistics, and their continued passion and commitment to successfully supporting the next generation of healthcare professionals, has been awe-inspiring. I would like to finish by thanking my peers, the academic team and the University for the most incredible three-year journey, and I know that whatever the challenges we face in the coming months, we will look back on these times, with gratitude and pride.

 

Shortlisted for the Royal College of Midwifery, Student Midwife of the Year award

Abbie, third-year midwifery student


Abbie was shortlisted for the Royal College of Midwifery, Student Midwife of the Year award 2020.

We have been given the option to return to clinical practice, as employees of the trust, to complete the remainder of our training or to opt-out until we are able to return. Many of us will be returning to the clinical area we have spent the past three years in, getting the remainder of our competencies signed, facilitating our final births and most importantly gaining confidence in our skills to best support the people under our care.

This means we will be under the supervision of registered staff, while easing the workload of our colleagues and importantly ensuring women receive the highest-quality care during a time of great excitement for most, that can also feel lonely for many women during this unprecedented time.

There's definitely a feeling of uncertainty, as many of us have not been in clinical practice since the outbreak of COVID-19, and therefore the new additions of PPE and changes to assessment feel very daunting. We don’t want to be a burden to the midwives and other healthcare staff who will oversee us, while wanting to help out where we can.

I am so grateful to the September 2017 cohort during this time, we have been able to share our worries, have a laugh and plan our future. I know there are some of us unable to opt in, and I cannot begin to imagine how that must feel, but everyone is a valued member of our cohort, and we are all in this together! Like many, we are also saddened that we never had our final day at university together as planned, but look forward to graduation when we can all see one another again.

I feel incredibly supported and thankful to our lecturers, who no doubt, have had hundreds of emails from all of us. We have had amazing support, and our personal tutors have been fantastic for keeping us up to date with changes in our local clinical areas.

I look forward to completing my degree and embarking on my dream career. Although there is much uncertainty, I cannot thank the University of Plymouth, the midwifery team and the fellow students in my cohort for a wonderful (albeit fast) three years!