Once again nursing students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) are answering the national call for help in the fight against Covid-19.
Nearly 300 final year nursing students are being deployed immediately to seven health trusts within the North West region to add extra manpower to the NHS frontline.
The undergraduates will spend up to 12 weeks in either full-time or part-time roles, depending on the number of theory and practical hours they have already completed during their degree programme.
During their deployment, they will undertake a range of nursing duties including taking blood, dressing wounds, monitoring heart and blood pressures rates, inserting catheters, giving injections and escorting patients to scans.
For some, it will be the second time they have answered the Health Secretary’s plea for nursing students to lend their skills to local hospitals as they deal with record cases of Covid-19.
Charlotte Campbell, from Stockport, has already started her second deployment at the Royal Preston Hospital. During the first wave, she worked on the medical assessment unit but this time she has been placed on a general surgical ward.
The 20-year-old, who has also gained experience from volunteering in UCLan’s on-campus Covid-19 testing centre, said: “Last time, none of us knew what we’d be facing and it was testing for everyone but this time around I feel more comfortable knowing what to expect, what the patients will be like and what PPE and infection controls will be required.”
More than 100 students will be based at the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust; nearly 80 at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; more than 40 at Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust; 30 at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; while the remaining will be at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust; Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust; and North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.
Mandy Dunbar, UCLan’s Head of Work Based Learning, said: “Our students are going to be vital staffing resources for our local trusts as we battle through this pandemic. They will support the delivery of patient care to a very high level, it’s what they have all trained for, and we are really proud that so many have stepped forward.”
The Nursing and Midwifery Council has introduced emergency regulation to ensure the students can work safely.
Mandy added: “The trusts will deploy the students in areas where the need is greatest, but the safety and quality of care remains paramount so our students have had to pass stringent tests to ensure they can contribute.”
In April 2020, around 20 final year medical students and more than 300 final year nursing students from UCLan joined the NHS’ ranks to help with the first wave of Covid-19 cases.
Due to the large number of practical hours spent on the wards during that time, a number of those students have been able to graduate early and therefore start working as permanent qualified nurses.