Nursing students take over running hospital ward

Student nurses recently took over running a hospital ward as part of a new model of learning – believed to be a first for the South West. 

Collaborative Learning in Practice Placements (CLiPP) is a new model of nurse training in practice, whereby teams of students take over the running of one or two bays of a hospital ward, while being overseen by dedicated registered nurses and support workers.

At the end of April, a team of University of Plymouth nursing students began to pilot this new initiative at Derriford Hospital, initially taking over the running of two bays on Hartor ward, which cares for elderly patients. By the start of July, it was deemed so successful, that for their final week, the student takeover was extended to cover the entire ward.

Katie Jackson, Placement Development Team Educator at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, said: 

“I believe this was the first time that a whole ward has been taken over by students in the South West, and perhaps even the country. We look forward to how it will improve integration between the hospital and University, as well as increasing the number of placement opportunities we can provide.

"Learning in practice is an essential element in the development of a competent and compassionate nursing workforce. Instead of students simply shadowing a registered nurse, as part of the CLiPP model they are encouraged to learn by doing. This ultimately enhances the student learning experience, giving them an opportunity to be more hands-on, and therefore increases their confidence, leadership and decision-making skills.”

The University students unanimously enjoyed their experience, thanking the Hartor team and Ward Manager Teresa Beer for their fantastic support, with the presentation of a homemade cake. “The emotional support has been wonderful – we’re like a family now,” they agreed.

“CLiPP has been such an amazing opportunity. I feel very lucky to have been chosen to take part,” said Suzy Bayliss, a third-year student nurse. “It has enabled my confidence to grow, and I now feel ready to take the next step as a registered nurse.”

Meg Neal, also a third-year student nurse, added: 

“I have loved every minute. The experience has inspired me to go on to mentoring, once I am qualified.”

The placement team at University Hospitals Plymouth hopes that in trialling the CLiPP model with further students across different wards, it will become standard practice.

“The students were allocated by random selection from each of the three year groups,” adds Katie. “Few knew each other at the start of the placement, but they quickly developed into a team. The success of the CLiPP pilot is certainly a result of their hard work and team-working skills.”

Beverley Allingham, Deputy Chief Nurse, said: 

“It’s been wonderful to see the students all come together to support each other and develop a network of support. Their learning experience is much improved with the CLiPP model, as they feel more empowered and so their confidence grows quickly.”

Ed Cox, Head of Nursing, said: 

“The CLiPP model brings together the best of both traditional and modern training methods. We’ve received excellent feedback from both the staff and the students, and I hope that we will see it trialled further in other parts of the hospital.”

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