‘It cannot be ignored’ - University staff and students rise to challenge against coronavirus

UEA nurses in PPE. Picture: UEA

UEA nurses in PPE. Picture: UEA - Credit: Archant

Hundreds of University of East Anglia students have signed up to boost the NHS workforce as part of their efforts to alleviate pressure during the pandemic.

Staff and students have been contributing to the coronavirus fight, including by training returning healthcare professionals and taking up placements.

More than 350 student nurses alone have offered their assistance across the four fields of nursing - adult, mental health, children’s and learning disabilities - as part of a scheme offering students paid placement as part of their training.

Among them is final year adult nursing undergraduate Carla Ferreira Dias, who moved to the UK from Portugal and will carry out her placement in London.

She said: “Nursing is my passion and I’m starting today at an NHS trust in London. One day I’ll go back to Portugal, to be there for my family, meet my friends again and help the community there. But I’m here now, and proud to help a country that has given me so much, as a professional and a human being and where I’ve made friends for life.”

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Professor Sally Hardy, dean of health sciences, said 95pc of final year students had opted in to the scheme.

Professor Hardy said: “The Covid-19 pandemic and the rapid response from the NHS staff have really shown why nursing is such an important profession in the response to coronavirus and it’s fantastic to see that so many of our students and staff are willing to respond to this emergency in such a proactive way with our practice partners across the region.

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“Whether they chose in or out, we support their decision and will support them whatever point in their education they are at and we are all proud of all of our UEA students at what is an extremely challenging and difficult period.”

Staff have also been supporting the NHS, with members of the School of Health Sciences providing training to scores of returning healthcare professionals, in response to the Norfolk Needs You recruitment campaign.

Four sessions have been held to refresh those returning to work on clinical skills, handling materials and administering basic life support.

Nursing sciences lecturers Tony Jermy and Iain Shuttleworth have delivered the sessions.

Mr Shuttleworth said: “As healthcare professionals, with all our knowledge, skills and abilities, we have a moral ethical duty and responsibility to help all those in need. The Covid-19 pandemic is a situation that cannot be ignored by anyone, any government or any country on the planet.”

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