200 nurses fast-tracked to join NHS fight against coronavirus


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Two hundred new nurses and midwives have been fast-tracked to join the NHS and provide support during the coronavirus pandemic. 

De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) speeded up the registration process for adult nursing, child nursing, mental health nursing and midwifery final year students.

THUMB Clairenurse

Claire Gilbert is one of the 50 nurses who are starting work at Leicester's hospitals

Faculty bosses arranged an extraordinary exam board to ensure that results could be ratified one month earlier than normal – ensuring the students qualified and received the official paperwork from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) needed for them to work in the NHS as registered nurses.

COVID-19:
* How students and staff at DMU are supporting the community at this time
* Advice and information on COVID-19

Dr Chris Whitney-Cooper, Head of School of Nursing and Midwifery, said: “All of our finalist students had jobs to go to within the NHS and we wanted to make sure they could do so as quickly as possible whilst the university remained open with the right staff to get this done.

“By organising for the exam board to meet earlier we could ensure that 200 new registrants – including midwives, adult nursing, mental health nursing and disability nurses – could join the NHS.”

It’s not just students who are volunteering their services. DMU’s registered healthcare staff are also taking up roles in the NHS. “We have well qualified, dedicated staff here at DMU who want to do their bit,” said Chris. “We all joined the health service to help others and it never leaves you.”

Claire Gilbert from Husbands Bosworth, Leicestershire, is one of the DMU nurses who is beginning work earlier than she expected. She started her first job as a registered nurse in the Emergency Department at Leicester’s Hospitals on Monday and is completing an induction ready for her first shifts next week.

Claire said: “I feel driven to support the NHS at this unprecedented time, helping people who are vulnerable and need our support the most. While I am concerned for my family, this is what I am trained to do and I feel very passionate about it.”

Claire, who has a five-year-old son, added: “I’m pleased to be at Leicester’s Hospitals as I want to support my local community and stay near friends and family. Being a large teaching hospital I had lots of opportunities during my training. I’m grateful to DMU for helping process our registrations quickly so we can start as soon as possible.”

INSETclaire interview

Claire being interviewed by East Midlands Today's Jo Healey

Izzy Skevington from Whetstone, Leicestershire, began as registered nurse in the infectious diseases unit at Leicester’s Hospitals on Monday.

She said: While it’s quite daunting to start now, it’s great that we’ve been fast-tracked so we can help the NHS at this time. I trained at this hospital and know there’s lots of support for nurses here. It’s also good to be able to support my local NHS. DMU has been very helpful getting us fast-tracked and supporting us through the registration process.”

Carolyn Fox OBE, Chief Nurse at Leicester’s Hospitals, said: “Congratulations to the 50 newly-qualified nurses and midwives joining us over the coming weeks.

“We are grateful to De Montfort University in supporting our finalist student nurses and midwives to register with the NMC earlier than usual. I am delighted to be welcoming them to the Trust as they begin their careers providing the best care for our patients, especially in these difficult times.”

At the same time, approximately 1,500 students continue with their placement in the region keeping hospitals and clinical care teams going while frontline staff look after patients with COVID-19.

DMU has been working alongside placement providers and Health Education England to ensure that around 1500 students can continue their placements if they wish to.

Chris said: “Our students will be working on the wards to help keep the day to day healthcare running, so that the regular staff can help people with the virus. They are a very important part of the teams in hospitals across the region, it’s what they have been training for.”

Students will continue to be supervised in their placements some of which may need to be reviewed depending on the patients care needs in that area to ensure safety for the student and patient.

“We have a close working relationship with healthcare providers and we have discussed what is best to do jointly,” added Chris. “The important thing to remember is that they will be the next generation of nurses and midwives.”

Posted on Thursday 9th April 2020

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