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Gloucestershire nursing degree students impress Lilian Faithfull hosts

Health Education England has invited the University of Gloucestershire to its national conference in July where the university will run a workshop alongside Lilian Faithfull Care.

Nick Oxlade, placements and partnerships lead at the University of Gloucestershire, said: "We will be demonstrating to other placement providers (NHS and private) and universities how to implement placements effectively in nursing homes - again this is testament to the success and dedication of the staff within Lilian Faithful Care in their support of health and social care students.''

The news comes as the latest cohort of University of Gloucestershire nursing degree students have just come to the end of their 14 week placements at a Cheltenham nursing home.

Lilian Faithful Care's nursing home, St Faith's, has been working in partnership with the University of Gloucestershire for over five years, offering placements to student nurses studying for their nursing degrees.

Nursing student Monika said: "We have really enjoyed every moment. We have learnt so much. The team has been amazing - supporting us every single day. Being a student during the pandemic has been hard.

"It was the best placement I've ever had. I have felt very valued. We've seen how the nurses provide good leadership and we are learning every single day."

Monika said that the nurse mentors at the home have kept the students safe and looked after their mental and physical health.

Nursing student Takudza said: "What I wasn't expecting was the support we also got from other health professionals. The [visiting] doctors have also taken time to actually explain everything to us, whatever they were doing. It might be explaining the signs of deterioration or talking us through what they are prescribing."

Nursing student Becca said: "I hadn't had any experience of end of life care before coming here and it has opened my eyes as to what can be done and what there is to offer.

"When I started, I didn't know how to communicate with the residents. I was nervous, but I have learnt so much and now know lots of different ways you can communicate."

Nurse and mentor Karen Barry said: "When the students arrive, for some of them it is their first time in a nursing home."

Monika decided to become a nurse later in life, but has no regrets. She said: "After coming here from Poland, I worked in a nursing home and in a hospital. Someone there told me I should be a nurse, but I was doubting my ability. I am 35 and, starting later. you ask lots of questions, especially about how you will pay the bills and manage the course, but it's the best decision I've ever taken."

Nursing student Kira was a health care assistant before deciding to become a nurse. She has juggled her studies with caring for her two children - including a 12 week old baby!

Karen said all the supervisors and nurse mentors really enjoy working with the students. She said: "We've got such a lot out of having the students. When we started five years ago, we had to learn all about teaching and assessing and we have grown with the students. Every time, we learn more about how to help and support them and how to get the best out of them."

Nick Oxlade said: "St Faiths was the first nursing home we sent our students to and the experience has been overwhelmingly positive. As a university committed to providing a health and social care workforce for the county and further afield, having a local provider with an established history in Gloucestershire has been fantastic.

"We have now sent adult nursing, mental health nursing, paramedic and physiotherapy students to Lilian Faithful Care and each time we are heartened by the feedback we receive from students about their experience and from staff about our students."

Karen said: "We are really proud to be teaching and supporting the future nursing workforce. It's very rewarding to see them develop and grow in confidence and skill. It definitely enhances the care we provide."

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