RETURNING TO THE NHS: Donna supports students all the way from the classroom to the wards


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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our teaching staff at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) volunteered to return to work within the NHS at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL). These are their stories:

Six months ago, District Nurse Programme Leader Donna Edwards would have been in a classroom supporting students on placement from afar. But then came the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now Donna is working alongside her students, having volunteered to go back to the job she once did.

 Donna EdwardsOG

Alongside teaching commitments, Donna is currently spending one day a week at UHL supporting third year nursing students, who are out on placement.

Donna said: “Following the call-out, I put myself forward. I now have a contract with UHL for one or two days a week.

“For the last five weeks, at least one day a week I have been into the hospitals to offer my services on the wards and to support the third year students out on placements.

“It is their last placement before qualifying and because of COVID, I felt it would be good to offer my experience on the wards and as a mentor.”

RETURNING TO THE NHS: Amanda bringing frontline care experience back to the classroom

Donna was a community nurse for 20 years before pursing her ambition to become an educator.

“If I am honest it has helped me as much as it has helped the students, as a nurse we always feel we want to help in any way we can.

“It’s naturally built in you; you know you can help so it’s hard not to. Going into practice areas has made me feel normal again, even in an uncertain time.

“It has been really nice going back and having that patient contact, talking to patients and being involved with them again.”

Donna said it has been a challenging time for the whole faculty, but everyone has pulled together to make it work for students.

“I have a really busy fulltime job; nursing academics have no summer break. We have had to change so many things over the last few months to help student nurses progress.

“I have lived and breathed COVID and luckily, I haven’t caught it. It is a challenging time and students feel like they have got a lot out of it.

“Many have come to me and said they feel they have done something worthwhile and it’s been a scary but rewarding time. I also feel like I have done something worthwhile too by supporting them.”

“I am very grateful to DMU for enabling me to do this.”

Posted on Thursday 30th July 2020

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