Hundreds of nursing students from University of the West of Scotland (UWS) have been visiting schools across the country to raise awareness of healthy lifestyle choices.

Using the University’s award-winning ‘Class in a Bag’ resource, the nurses have also been educating schoolchildren about the sensitive topics of resilience and dementia.

Over the last two weeks, around 145 third-year mental health and adult nursing students from the University’s Paisley campus have travelled to more than 32 local schools* as part of their Fitness for Practice module, which asks students to deliver health promotion activities to a community group.

Class in a Bag is a portable educational resource which contains a range of props to help educate school children about a chosen health topic. Each year, head teachers are invited to select from a range of subjects, with the human body-themed Class in a Bag, for example, including materials which help children learn about what happens to food when we eat it.

Not only is the Class in a Bag programme helping to educate schoolchildren, but it is also integrated into UWS students’ coursework, with their performance in delivering the health messaging subject to an examination in the weeks following, allowing them to critically discuss their activities.

The initiative is the work of UWS academics Fiona Everett, Wendy Wright, Caroline MacCallum and Winnie McGarry. Winnie, who is a Lecturer in adult nursing and a deputy programme lead, said: “We are proud of our undergraduate nursing students who, for the past two weeks, have been on the road across Scotland, teaching young people about important health topics, including the benefits of not smoking, resilience, the human body, healthy eating, handwashing, resilience and dementia.

“Forming a crucial part of the UWS students’ coursework, the Class in a Bag activity has also addressed the Scottish Government’s Curriculum for Excellence programme. We hope that the children have enjoyed learning about a range of health topics in a fun, hands-on and engaging way.

“I am confident that this activity has prepared the students to become confident professional practitioners as they near programme completion and we also look forward to working with more schools in the future.”

The schools involved in the Paisley Class in a Bag initiative were: Giffnock Primary School, Heriot Primary School, Woodlands Primary School, Wallace Primary School, Paisley Grammar School, St Fillans Primary School, Ralston Primary School, Our Lady of Peace Primary School, Houston Primary School, East Fulton Primary School, Bargarran Primary School, Arkelston Primary  school, Wallace primary School, St John Ogilvie Primary School, St Filans Primary School, Lochfield Primary School, Glencoats Primary School, Cochrane Castle Primary School, Castlehead High School, Kirkhill Primary, Bridge of Weir Primary School, Williamsburgh Early learning, St Charles Primary School, St Anthonys primary School, Lochfield primary School, Cochrane castle Primary, Houston Primary School, Heriot Primary School, Kilbarchan Primary School, Glencoats Primary School, St Nicholas Primary School and West Primary School.