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Child Nursing student shares lifesaving skills during two trips in two months to India

A Child Nursing student found a trip to India to share lifesaving skills so rewarding she has supported her classmates during a second visit.

Jemma Ward is now keen to offer further help to communities in one of the poorest areas in Gujarat state.

The final-year De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) student described her two trips in two months as “the most rewarding thing I have ever done”.

“What we are teaching is going to save lives,” she said.

Jemma first headed to Ahmedabad with DMU Square Mile India in November, choosing the trip because of the difference she could make.

“I was so nervous before I went, but it was incredible,” she said.

“We did a lot of work at the Gandhi Ashram, which is supported by the DMU Square Mile India Fund, as well as the local community centre.

“We taught basic life support and first aid to pre-school teachers, healthcare workers, some of the children and volunteers from the ashram.”

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The visit made Nottingham-born Jemma aware of how lucky she is.

“The people are so happy yet have so little,” she said. “I am so thankful to them for making us appreciate life.”

When the Square Mile team suggested it would be good for Jemma to go again, she jumped at the chance to lead and support classmates making their first visit at the end of January.

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“I did feel apprehensive as I didn’t want to get it wrong, but it felt really good,” she said.

“There were 19 of us and I went through what we’d done before and practised how we would deliver the skills training before doing it. It went so well.”

The group also visited a public hospital – an experience that has seen Jemma look into a third trip.

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“The children’s ward was so plain and not child-friendly. It upset quite a lot of us. I would love to go back and paint it,” said Jemma, who first decided to become a nurse after a family member developed a serious condition.

“Seeing how caring the nurses were was inspiring, plus my grandma was a nurse and she’s my hero,” said the 26-year-old.

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A trained beauty therapist, Jemma took an access course to enable her to switch careers, gaining relevant experience through a Healthcare Assistant job. She chose Child Nursing after being assigned to the children’s ward at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham.

In her first year at DMU, Jemma was impressed with the clinical skills sessions.

“The lecturers were very supportive if you had any issues,” she said.

Now Jemma is concentrating on her final-year studies as well as applying for jobs.

“I don’t mind what I do in terms of specialism because I’ve loved all of my placements,” she added. “I’ve had a really good variety and learned lots of different things.” 

Posted on: Thursday 15 February 2018

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