1000 Napier student nurses join NHS to combat Covid-19

Second and final year students have started placements.
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Almost 1000 nursing and midwifery students from Napier university have joined the NHS as part of the emergency response to Covid-19.

Undergraduate and graduate students in their second and final years at the School of Social Care have begun taking up care roles at hospitals and homes mainly in the Lothian and Borders NHS areas.

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Those who have volunteered are on placement for an initial period of six months or until the crisis is over.

Their deployment follows talks between the UK government, Scottish government , Nursing and Midwifery Council and other health officials.

Students who have joined placements have spoken of being nervous but proud of their new roles.

Charley Milliken is a second-year mental health nurse who has been on placement at the Royal Edinburgh for about a month.

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“It’s been a really positive experience,” said the 30-year-old, who is from Manchester but has been in Edinburgh for the last 10 years.

“The team are fantastic, as soon as I arrived I was made to feel like I was part of the team and like I’m able to make a difference.

“I was a little bit nervous before I started as it had been a while since I was on a ward, and I was worried about PPE.

“No one really likes wearing a mask all the time but you get used to it, it’s part of the job.”

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Tracey Gilhooley-Rutherford, 44, from Fife, is also in her second year, but studying learning disability nursing.

She has been on placement at the Lynebank Hospital in Dunfermline for three weeks.

“It’s been good so far,” she said.

“I was initially a bit apprehensive, but the information that was shared with us was very helpful. The staff have been fantastic in their support and guidance, and it’s been a helpful learning experience getting to see the day to day running of the place and do things first hand.”

Lewis Oseman, 22, is a third-year Adult Nursing student who has been on placement in a Covid-19 ward at the Western General for the past four weeks.

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This will be his last placement before officially qualifying and becoming a staff nurse.

He said: “At first I am happy to admit that I was nervous and scared, however the team on ward 72 have been nothing less than fantastic, it really is a supportive and positive environment. I am really enjoying the placement and proud to be doing my job.”

Euan Hill, 21, from Jedburgh, Roxburghshire, has been placed in the emergency unit at Borders General Hospital.

The third-year Bachelor of Nursing student said: “I feel privileged to be asked to assist the workforce. Throughout my training, the support offered by my colleagues within the NHS has been amazing, and the prospect of working alongside them at this difficult time is daunting but very satisfying.

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“There will be lots of challenges over the next few months, but I know that the guidance offered by the NHS and the university will put me in the best position to give the support my colleagues need.”

Dr Hazel Willis, Interim Dean of Edinburgh Napier’s School of Health & Social Care, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has changed all of our lives and is requiring universities, NHS boards and student nurses and midwives to work in exceptional ways to address the requirements of the NHS and the wider population.

“Our students have demonstrated outstanding levels of professionalism during this period of uncertainty, and these remarkable people have the support of all of us as they go out to both aid and assist but also to learn from our frontline doctors, nurses and midwives in these challenging times.”

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