Leeds Beckett University celebrates its nursing community
The university’s nursing expertise has come under the spotlight over the past year with many staff and students offering their support in the fight against Covid-19. It has also been instrumental in helping deliver the life-saving vaccines.
During the pandemic, a significant number of second and third-year undergraduate nursing students have joined the NHS workforce in paid placements, opting in to support the under-pressure workers and help in any way they could.
Leeds Beckett staff also joined the workforce giving vital training at the Nightingale Hospital in Harrogate, working on ICU wards, teaching people how to give vaccinations and giving vaccinations at the various hubs in Yorkshire.
Paul Mackreth, a Course Director in the School of Health and Community Studies and a District Nurse, and Senior Lecturers David Wilcock and Scott Warren led the training of hundreds of healthcare students, NHS staff and those returning from retirement. They all took part in a specially designed course in Basic Life Support, Anaphylaxis and intramuscular injection technique.
Speaking about the training, Paul said: “Being able to offer specific Covid-19 immunisation training helped us feel that we are all playing our part in getting the nation vaccinated.
“Responding quickly to training was challenging alongside maintaining and managing the assessment, learning and teaching for our existing students on health courses. It required a team effort to release staff from existing commitments.
“Supporting our health students remains a priority and offering time for NHS colleagues has been essential.”
Dr Sarah Burden, who is a Reader in Nursing in the School of Health and Community Studies, a nurse for almost 40 years and the Chair of the Royal College of Nursing Education Forum was one of those staff members who rejoined the NHS workforce.
She explained why she decided to get involved: “I was discussing the sheer scale of the vaccination programme with my husband, who is a GP, and decided that I would do whatever it took to help roll it out. I applied to NHS Professionals and completed the online learning modules, but before I was signed off to vaccinate, I decided to volunteer as a Marshall at the vaccination hub.
“On my first day, I had to work with other volunteers to clear a path into the centre after heavy snowfall. We had to make the centre accessible for those who were attending for their vaccines. Once this was done, I found myself drawing on my nursing background to support those in need. People coming to the centre needed welcoming and to be made to feel safe and secure - some had not been out since the pandemic began
“There was one daughter who came and found us and said she had got her mum in the car and her mum hadn’t been out since March and was experiencing social anxiety but wanted the vaccine. So, I went and talked to her and she got her vaccine.
I then began giving the vaccine and it felt like a bit of a moment in history having worked a busy weekend that saw the latest milestone of the vaccination programme hit in the UK.
“Watching a team that you have never worked with before, across different professions, come together, have a clear sight of what you were trying to achieve and do it and get it to work from day one was fantastic.”
Mark Hillier, Director of Practice for Nursing and Healthcare, put together a comprehensive guide about using effective hand hygiene practice to prevent and control infection – this was published in the Nursing Standard, the official newspaper of the Royal College of Nursing.
2,284 students have been trained since Leeds Beckett University began its courses in nursing over 40 years ago.