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Scholarship student joins NHS early after call for support

A Leeds Beckett University student who received a Bright Futures Scholarship has spoken of her time working as an ‘aspirant nurse’ after joining the NHS workforce six months early.

Rebecca Harding has been delivering nursing care on hospital wards and in the community so more NHS resources can be diverted to the front-line in the fight against Covid-19.

She took up a role at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead after being amongst more than 70 students who stepped up following a national call for support.

Rebecca has been putting her skills into practice and contributing much-needed support, while gaining experience and making a difference to those she cares for.

Speaking at the end of her first week working in the NHS in April, Rebecca, who is now a third year nursing student in the School for Health and Community Studies, said:

“I found out that I would be heading into the workforce early by the government daily updates and on social media.

“It didn’t sink in for me at first, it was when we got the confirmation emails from university. Once we started to get official emails that’s when I realised how serious the situation was and that the hospitals needed our help and support.

“I was extremely nervous; I didn’t know what staff were going to expect from us but there was a part of me which was excited to get back into practice and help out.

“My first week was a mix of emotions. One of the challenges during COVID-19 is trying to keep the patients upbeat during this time. They are not allowed any visitors and shops within the hospitals are closed.

“We are able to use iPads to Facetime relatives for them and are now accepting letters and photos via post so they can put them on their tables/on their walls.

“People in the community have been writing anonymous letters too in case patients don’t have any relatives which has been lovely, it’s so nice to see the community coming together.”

Whilst in her first year at LBU, Rebecca received the Bright Futures Scholarship which ensures that the opportunity to experience and benefit from an education at Leeds Beckett University should be open to all regardless of their background.

“During my first year I was going to struggle with paying for my rent which led me to be at a disadvantage because I couldn’t save my money for specific nursing books on our reading list to help with assignments and exams,” she added.

“The scholarship helped me to cover my rent so I could afford the extra academic books for me to keep for the full three years. I am still using them now; they’ve been so helpful, and I’ve managed to maintain my results due to this.”

Professor Peter Slee, Leeds Beckett University Vice Chancellor, said:

“We are extremely proud that each and every one of our dedicated nursing students made the decision to join the NHS workforce at this exceptionally difficult time.

“The desire and courage they are showing in stepping up to serve our country is a source of great pride for the whole Leeds Beckett community. It is wonderful to see how the support of our alumni community has enabled Rebecca to progress through her education at our university and to make such a positive impact on our wider community.”

'If you would like to make a difference to students like Rebecca, you can donate here



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