Nursing Students from Stafford’s Centre of Excellence help support a local charity

Selinah organised world food day for the whole cohort. We each made food that we enjoy at home and donated it to the cause so that everybody could try some. Everybody in the cohort was involved as well as the staff. After everybody has eaten there was lots of food left so we got in contact with Will from the House of Bread who said we could donate the left overs to them. Lauren Jones and Ellie Evans took the donated food to the House of Bread that afternoon. Will said the next morning that it had been a huge success and was so educational for their service users as they could talk about different cultures and where each food/dish had originated from. It was a brilliant day and so nice for March17 to get together for the last time before placement period 4 started!

Ellie Evans, 2nd year Nursing Student

A Moving, Powerful and Inspiring Narrative of a Student Midwifes Journey

I began my midwifery journey 4 years ago. I was the cliché pregnant women who saw the job a midwife does and thought, “I want to do that”. I’d spent 10 years as a qualified careers adviser, helping others to find their passions and I’d finally found mine.

Pregnancy was not an easy time for me, I changed from a confidant woman who was managing other people, to having difficulty managing my own life and feelings. It was everything I ever wanted but it didn’t feel like I was in control. I never stopped feeling completely amazed that I was growing a human. The journey the family takes through pregnancy is truly amazing and something that continues to astound and motivate me. The support I received from midwives and the wider community during this time, inspired me to take a 360 turn and change my life.

I applied to study when my son was 5 weeks old, I was so determined that this is what I wanted. I took along my expressed milk to an open day and sat in front of the Staffordshire University lecturers and thought, these women are amazing. I was lucky enough to be interviewed when he was 5 months old, and again even luckier to be offered an immediate place on the course. I could never have imagined the whirlwind journey I have been on since starting the degree. My life looks wholly different now than it did 4 years ago, I never expected it to take the turns it has, and yet I wouldn’t change it for the world.

During the first year, I found my feet and found the areas of midwifery that I loved. Meeting each woman and them allowing me to build and grow my skills still humbles me now. Pregnancy and childbirth is magic, beautiful, amazing and terrifying all at the same time. Managing shifts having never done shift work before, and having my first expereinces of childbirth and helping women to deliver babies was amazing. I worked hard and managed to do well in my first year, theoretically and practically. I was so proud of what I had achieved. I suffered a huge personal loss at the end of this year and it was hard to stay focused. Losing my Nan who I was very close to and who was proud of me was tremenddously hard.

During my second year, I focused on my skills and found that finding out and experiencing nursing placements helped to strengthen my skill set. I ended second year with 24 personal deliveries which was an amazing accomplishment. I was able to do an elective placement with the Powys midwives, my mentor was a male midwife, something I hadn’t experienced prior to this. The passion and care he showed the women he was caring for continues to be something I draw upon if I am feeling a need to refocus.  Experiencing a 3am water birth, where the woman was totally focused and in control, having complete confidence in her own body as she was so well supported by her carers, is one of my favourite memories of this placement.

Life threw me another blow at the end of second year, the end of my long long term relationship, making me a single parent family. This made me rethink everything, and I wondered if I should carry on with the course. As I sat here literally months away for qualification I am thankful for everything (and for everyone I have around me) I have, that I carried on for my son and I. I couldnt have done this, without the support of the truly wonderful lecturers, and my family and friends. around me) I have, that I carried on for my son and I. I couldn’t have done this, without the support of the truly wonderful lecturers, and my family and friends.

Starting third year I had a completely different mind-set, I was so focused on the end goal that I decided to give everything my all. Having ended my delivery placement with 47 personal deliveries, 2 confidence cases and a whole load of confidence in myself again. I am now so excited for the next few months. I feel just so grateful to have been given this amazing experience. I have had some brilliant highs and some very low moments but overall the good times have outweighed and keep me coming back!

 

 

Every smile, hug and thankyou (and sometimes chocolate) from women and families makes everything worthwhile. Supporting people through the most amazing and sometimes devastating times of their lives is a gift that not too many people get to experience, and for this I am thankful.

To say it’s been hard work would be an understatement to say the least, the course is hard, it will strain every ounce of your physical and emotional resource. The battle to stay sane, be a good parent, be a good student and try to retain all the information you need to do this incredible job is no mean feat. Oh yes and the shifts, make sure you have shares in Cadbury (to eat and to give away thanking people for their support). However it is doable and you can do it. I am proof of that.

Get some good people around you and anything is possible. I am now looking forward to the next chapters of my life and looking back on all of the amazing experiences I have had.

Thank you firstly to the women and families I’ve cared for, for allowing me to do so. Thank you to the mentors and staff who unselfishly teach and give their patience to each student on their journey.

Thank you Staffordshire for being a supportive and inclusive University.

Choose to focus your time energy and conversation around people who inspire you, support you and encourage you to grow you into your happiest, strongest, wisest self.” Karen Salmansohn

Bec Keeble-Wilkinson, 3rd year, Midwifery Student

A Paramedic Lecturer at Staffs is Driving Health Promotion on Campus

These bikes started as part of my leadership module where I wanted to introduce a change. I have a keen interest in health and fitness going back to my BSc in sports science, so I looked at an area of health currently overlooked within the School and wider NHS. Getting inspiration from a recent BBC documentary on the truth about getting fit I came across the idea of exercise bike located within the school at a fitness tool. Based on short duration Height intensity interval training (HIIT) that could be done while staff and students are in the building and that required minimal time or preparation.

I was able to discuss this with our School’s Dean, Ann Ewens and colleauges from Universitys campus life, and the Sir Stanley Matthews Sports Centre in Stoke who provided the bikes. My aim now is to monitor how much these bike are used and what benefits they are providing. Ultimately removing the excuses form why we don’t do enough exercise when all we need is a few minutes 3 times a week.

Mickie Donnelly, Paramedic Lecturer

 

From Staffs Gradaute to Senior Infection Prevention and Control Nurse

I graduated from Staffordshire University with a degree in adult nursing in 2013.

The three year course flew by with 50% theory at the University and 50% practice placements. Throughout my time there, I felt highly supported by engaging, experienced and passionate nursing lecturers. The faculty of health skills labs provided a comfortable environment for practicing new clinical skills for the first time in preparedness for placement. The university work very closely with different placement areas and provided a great combination of experiences for me towards my transition to becoming a registered nurse.

Since becoming a registered nurse, I have progressed within the specialist field of Infection Prevention and Control; I am currently working as a senior Infection Prevention and Control nurse for acute and community services. I love my role, no two days are the same and I get to work with a variety of staff towards delivering high quality patient care with a vision that no person is harmed be a preventable infection.

The teaching of skills and core nursing values at Staffordshire University set a high standard and on reflection have contributed towards the way I work and teach in my role to colleagues and students. The skills labs inspired me to develop practical teaching sessions in infection prevention which I won an award for as a new Infection Prevention and Control nurse. Along with my team colleagues we have also been shortlisted for National awards in Infection prevention.

I’ve had the honour of returning to the university’s centre of excellence as a guest lecturer teaching on the pre-registration nursing degree. I’m in disbelief at what has been achieved in the last 5 years of my nursing career and I feel so grateful that it all started at Staffs.

Amy Basford, BSc Adult Nursing Graduate, Staffordshire University 

Thank you Staffs for helping me achieve my lifelong ambition of becoming a paramedic.

I began my career in 2014 as a student paramedic within the ambulance service.

After 2 years I’d reached a stage where I was prepared for further development so in 2016 I started a Paramedic Science degree program at Staffordshire University. I hadn’t studied or been in a classroom environment since finishing college many years prior; however the lecturers were really supportive. They used their own personal experiences as Paramedics to assist us during the course, and helped us put our theory into practice whilst on placement.

There were a few skills that as a student it was difficult to fully experience on placement, however this wasn’t as issue and didn’t delay my development as there was plenty of opportunities to apply the skills in the well-equipped practical labs.

It wasn’t simple completing a degree, working and juggling a social life but it was made easier by the support of the lecturers at Staffs Uni. I made some lifelong friends during my time here; not to mention the encouragement and positive vibes given by the staff and my mentors on placement. They’ve helped me achieve my lifelong ambition of being a paramedic.

In this line of work every day is different and at times challenging, every day is a school day but I honestly believe I have the best job in the world”

 Katie Hill, Graduate Paramedic

How my Social Work Degree at Staffordshire University prepared me for my career

I graduated with a degree in Social Work in 2015.

I found the course and the content really useful during my studies. In my first year I had a placement with the YMCA which enabled me to get to grips working in an environment containing such and diverse range of people; it really consolidated my communication skills!

I feel the course really helped prepare me for working life and since graduation I’ve been involved in a wide variety of projects.

I have co-wrote and presented some peer reviewed work at an international conference for social work and psychology and also returned to Staffordshire University as a guest lecturer discussing the “voice of service users”. I’ve spoken at several other Universities and delivered conferences and training sessions to social work professionals.

Contribution to a variety of academic text books with renowned researchers, becoming a care leaver ambassador for the North West Midlands Social Work Teaching Partnership and most recently becoming a supervising Social Worker for independent fostering agency- Match Foster Care; I’ve achieved so much during both my time at the University and after graduation!

Laura Newman, Social Work Graduate

From Adult Nursing Student to Graduate

I started my Adult Nursing degree course at Staffordshire University in 2013.

The lecturers, as experienced nurses, were knowledgeable and supportive so I felt prepared for my first placement which was in a community hospital.

On that first placement, and then in the variety of other clinical areas I experienced (theatres, wards, GP practice & District Nursing) I was supported by lecturers, tutors and clinical mentors to develop my nursing skills and seize learning opportunities.

Between time spent at University and on clinical placements, it was definitely busy – but hugely rewarding! As a Student Nurse you’re in a unique position with a lot of patient contact and so you are able to get a direct insight into what nursing is all about. After spending so much time together during during the course, I’ve also made some lifelong friends.

When it came time to choosing where I would like to work once I qualified, I had a difficult time deciding as I had had such good experiences in all of my placements. I qualified in 2016 and my first job was as a Staff Nurse in the Emergency Department. Although it’s challenging at times, it’s a great place to work, there’s really nowhere like it. That led me on to my current role as an Acute Kidney Injury & Sepsis Nurse. Each day brings new opportunities to enhance patient care – I’m really enjoying it!

Clare Donnelly, Graduate Nurse

What to expect as a student midwife

My name is Natalie and I am a second year student midwife. I will be briefly sharing some information with you on what to expect upon starting your midwifery journey.

As you may know our course is not like no ordinary degree where you are in university for three times a week. The midwifery degree is a full-time course divided into 50% academic learning and 50% practical learning. In the academic learning you will be in university Monday to Friday and expected to attend every lecture in line with the NMC requirements of our degree. Theory will enable you to gain the knowledge, understanding and skills required as a midwife and practical learning will give you the opportunity to gain hands on experience of being a midwife.

Recently staffs have changed how our placements are structured. We are now on block placements where you will be in practice for approximately 6 weeks working 37.5 hours per week. Placements hours can vary depending on where you are based clinically. For example, you could work 8 hours a day if you are on community placement or a 12 hour shifts when based in the hospital. Prior to going out into practice we have days in the university skills lab where we learn how to undertake various skills such as blood pressure, urinalysis, abdominal palpation, adult resuscitation, venepuncture and many more. I love skills day!!. I would say make the most of the opportunities you have on these days, don’t be afraid to ask questions, don’t be afraid to try a certain skill more than twice until you feel happy about it. I say this because after you have been trained in university you are then able to undertake these skills in practice in the discretion of your mentor, who you are required to work with 40% of your placement block.

A big tip when on placement buy plenty of black pens, they will become your best friend. When you “borrow” pens out ensure you get them back or they will be gone forever!! So remember pens are a necessity!!

I have two children and prior to starting my degree I ensured that I had the adequate support from my family and friends as I knew that this degree was going to be full time and demanding. I would give the same advice to those who have children and to those who don’t, supportive family and friends is a key on this degree. Ensure that you use your cohort for support too I know that my cohort are so supportive of each other and they are amazing as we are all going through this journey together.

Any problems or concerns do not forget your lecturers and personal tutor, they are very approachable and want to help and support you through this process too.

Finally, I hope I have not put any of you off, yes this is a full time degree, no it is not easy, yes I know that when most of your friends are out on the weekend and your on a 12 hour shift. However, you can have time out for yourself and have a social life too, yes this is the most amazing and rewarding career and most of all enjoy this journey. I am absolutely loving it and cannot wait to qualify as a midwife next year.

Natalie Haven, 2nd Year Midwifery Student.

Life as Paramedic Student at Staffordshire University

Adventure, excitement and diversity are only 3 of the things the life of a student paramedic brings. The facilities at Staffs University are second to none and provide us students with the opportunity to practice paramedic skills in a safe environment before being  placement where you get to put these skills into place in the public responding to real 999 emergency all across the West Midlands. The paramedic science course at Staffordshire University is the best programme offered across the west midlands to go on to be a paramedic, meeting new people everyday and being the first point of contact for people at the hardest times of their lives. If you think you have what it takes, apply for Paramedic Science at Staffordshire university. #proudtobestaffs

Mark Wilson, 1st year Paramedic Student, Staffordshire University

Influenza Vaccinaton – should you get it?

If you are a health and social care student who has contact with vulnerable patients/clients then yes you should get your annual influenza vaccine.
If you are eligible because you have a long-term condition, are pregnant or registered carer of a person you look after (not employed carer) your GP surgery or local vaccinating pharmacy will provide this for you free of charge.

Hospital and Community Trusts are hosting clinics provided by local occupational health service providers and certainly student nurses & ODPs can access this service for free. Trusts also have teams of ‘roving’ staff who will vaccinate out of hours.
I am sure similar will be available for social care sector, ambulance services and social work students.

Remember it is important to get vaccinated early in the season, before a patient/client has the chance to share with you or you with them. Equally you could take it home to your nearest and dearest. Flu is not a pleasant illness to have and may have serious consequences in the longer term.

More information can be found in:
The National Influenza Immunisation Programme 2017/18
Information for Health Care Practitioners about the use of the inactivated influenza vaccine.
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/635921/Inactivated_influenza_vaccine_information_for_healthcare_practitioners.pdf

Check your eligibility and make your appointment early before you are too late!
Some health and social care university employees may be eligible depending on their interaction with health care environments, notification about this expected shortly.

If you want to protect yourself then a number of pharmacy chains and supermarket pharmacies will be able to administer a flu vaccine for a small fee (TESCO £9 plus loyalty card points! – other supermarkets are available)

I’ve had mine, have you had yours?

Sharon