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Furness College students start healthcare placements under new partnership

14 January 2020

Students with their sights set on careers in the NHS have experienced hands-on work in real healthcare settings as part of an exciting new partnership.

Furness College has teamed up with University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust (UHMBT) and Risedale Care Home to start placements at Furness General Hospital (FGH) and at the care home.

Students on the a Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care are now spending a day a week on placement as part of their college course.

Keith Wardle, Head of Area for Health at Furness College, said students were returning from placements full of enthusiasm for the experience.

“The programme is a rotation between different care settings, hospital wards and specialisms including ward, oncology, outpatients and ophthalmology,” he said.

“The students were excited to get their uniforms on and get out into the wards and care homes to start putting their skills into practise. There has been a real buzz around the programme because they have had a chance to be hands-on, even from the first day.”

He said it was the first time in a number of years that students had been able to get real care experience with direct contact with patients.

Erin Morgan, 16, is on placement on the oncology ward at Furness General Hospital and said it had been excellent.

“I worked in oncology helping people who were having chemotherapy. It was a really nice place and I got to talk to the patients,” she said. “You learn so much about the different cancers and the different treatments, I didn’t realise there were so many. The staff were all very friendly.”

Keeley Waller, 16, spent the day in orthopaedics learning how to make a hospital bed properly, dress a wound and give people washes.

Rhiannon O’Brien, 18, said her first day at Risedale Care Home had exceeded her expectations.

“It was really good and I felt part of the team,” she said. “They taught me how to use the hoist and I got to see everything but it didn’t faze me.

“It was much better than a previous placement where I just sat with the residents and watched TV, which was quite boring. Plus if I do some more training I can do relief work on the bank.”

Hollie Athersmith, 16, who also went to Risedale, said: “I enjoyed it. We had a talk on prescriptions and learnt about the 28-day cycle in prescriptions, which I didn’t know a lot about so that was really interesting.”

The partnership means students will learn the skills needed for a successful career in healthcare and will complete their care certificate, which is a professional qualification.

Julie Alexander, Training and Development Manager of Risedale Care Home, said: “We are pleased to support this programme to give Furness College students an insight into working at our care homes and to have a chance to learn the skills required as they work alongside our trained staff.

“We’ve been impressed with their enthusiasm so far and the patients have been really welcoming.”

As part of an established partnership with the College, Risedale Care Home is also offering a yearly cadet sponsored Nurse Apprenticeship for interested cadets wishing to do either general or mental health nursing in future.

Ruth Keeler, Strategic Lead for the Integrated Care System (ICS) Careers and Engagement for UHMBT, said the student placements opened up many exciting opportunities for the young people to gain new skills and go on to study healthcare professions such as nursing, midwifery, social work, physiotherapy and ambulance service roles.

“We are delighted to welcome the first students into our hospital. Becoming a healthcare student will stand the young people in great stead if they decide to pursue a career as a registered professional, nurse or support worker,” she said. “UHMBT is truly committed to ‘Growing Our Own to Provide Great Care’ for the future.”