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“The Nursing & Midwifery Council said that student nurses could put their hands up to work in hands-on roles within the NHS to provide additional support during the pandemic,” Rebecca recalls. “I opted in straight away and it was brilliant when I got the news a couple of weeks later that I could come and help care within the haematology day case ward at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre.”
Rebecca’s knowledge and experience as a second-year nursing student at the University of Chester meant that, after some additional training, she has been able to work as a healthcare assistant on the ward and support the clinical team as they care for patients, many of whom have blood cancers and are at greater risk of becoming seriously unwell if they catch coronavirus.
“I am being paid just like any other healthcare assistant and am also able to continue my studies,” she says. “I’ve had the opportunity to do things that I wouldn’t normally do on a student placement which has been so interesting. I have been given training in life support, peripheral blood taking, cannulas, and line care as well as gaining knowledge on more specialist areas such as chemotherapy.
“It’s been brilliant being part of such a specialist team who I can learn from. An aspect of the role I enjoy is that you can really get to know your patients as many of them come to the day ward weekly for treatment.”
Rebecca, who lives in Wirral, is spending 12 weeks supporting The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust during the pandemic and says her hands-on role has further reinforced her passion for a career in nursing.
“I feel so proud to be doing this,” she enthuses. “It’s really nice to have that impact and it will be great to look back on it in years to come and know that I was here working within a hospital and supporting the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic.”
Sheila Lloyd, Director of Nursing & Quality at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I want to say a huge thank-you to Rebecca and the other student nurses who have joined us through this initiative. It has been absolutely fantastic to have them here and they have played a vital role helping patients and staff. We would be delighted to welcome them back to the team again as registered nurses when they complete their studies.”
Find out more about Liverpool’s new Clatterbridge Cancer Centre here.
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