Around 1200 student nurses and midwives from University of the West of Scotland (UWS) are joining the NHS frontline fight against coronavirus.

The Nursing and Midwifery students, who are in their second and third years of study at UWS’s Lanarkshire, Ayr, Dumfries, and Paisley campuses, as well as some fourth year Applied Biomedical Science students, have volunteered to work in hospitals across the country, putting their clinical skills in practice to help the NHS respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

UWS students will, from Monday, be supporting Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, and Dumfries and Galloway Health Boards, as well as some independent care providers. Not all students will be in hospital environments, with some supporting care homes. Some students will start on Monday, with others joining the following week.

The announcement comes following an open letter last week from Carolyn McDonald, chief allied health professions officer, which called on students to “agree to become part of your local health and social care workforce”.

Photo: Amanda Beckett

Photo: Karen Stirling

UWS is Scotland’s largest provider of nursing and midwifery education in Scotland, with all four of its Scottish campuses equipped with state-of-the-art clinical skills simulation facilities, replicating hospital, primary care and domestic environments.

Julie Edgar, Dean of the School of Health and Life Sciences at UWS, said: “We are exceptionally proud of our students, who will soon start their placements with the NHS and other providers of care at what is an extremely critical time for the country.

“Hands-on experience is a key component of all of programmes, with a large proportion of our pre-registration nursing and midwifery programmes delivered in practice. It is with this in mind that we have absolute confidence our students are well-prepared to lend an important hand in supporting the NHS and others on the frontline at this time.

“Each and every one of our students should feel incredibly proud of themselves and know that UWS is here to support them every step of the way.”

Commenting on the opportunity, third year UWS midwifery student Karen Stirling, from Law in South Lanarkshire, said: “I am so looking forward to getting out into work for our amazing NHS. The staff out there are doing an unfathomable amount of work to keep things going and provide great care to those that need it. It is an absolute privilege as a final year student midwife to be given the opportunity to support those amazing people to do the job they are so good at. I am so grateful for the chance to support our NHS.”

Third year nursing student Amanda Beckett, from Motherwell, will be working with a community nursing team as of Monday, caring for people in their homes. Amanda said: “For me, there really was no question of whether I would opt in or not. I was all for it. To be able to say that before I had even graduated as a nurse, I signed up to work to support the nation’s effort to fight this pandemic – this is momentous to me.

“I recently nursed a patient who had volunteered when they finished nursing training to work with smallpox patients in Glasgow – I felt that this was our shot. Our chance to help when we are needed most.

“I hope that in opting in to work in this paid placement I will gain an experience that will further develop my nursing skills, my compassion and my love of nursing. I can’t wait to start.”

By Ricky Kelly

Main writer for Renfrewshire News