The latest cohort of third-year student nurses in Norfolk is close to becoming qualified and being offered positions within the NHS.
The training in this region is undertaken via a partnership between University of East Anglia in Norwich and hospital trusts, including QEH. Each year, there is an intake of about 200 students on the degree-level course and every September a new set of staff nurses qualify.
While the majority of students will be in there early 20s, it’s not uncommon for people in their 30s and 40s to gain a route on to the course via A-Levels or an equivalent. Practice development nurse Julia Saunders, one of the QEH staff members supporting student nurses’ training, says that can offer a good mix in a cohort, with mature students often having the benefit of “life experience, resilience and maturity”.
Julia said the latest cohort of third-year students have been “very motivated and committed” and she looked forward to welcoming to QEH many that qualify in September.
“A number are going to come and work here, and also the surrounding areas,” she added.
A total of 48 students, including three who have completed a four-year Open University course and four who did work-based learning, will be part of “sign-off summer” at QEH.
Johanna Naismith (22), from Warboys in Cambridgeshire, has had two 12-week placements at QEH. She wanted to embark on a career in nursing after having a spell as a healthcare assistant in a nursing home.
She said: “I really enjoyed it but wanted more from it. I decided to go to UEA as it had such a good reputation.
“I’ve liked that I’ve had experience with such a wide variety, including a mental health placement.”
Caitlin O’Donnell, a 21-year-old from Fakenham, has juggled the demands of training with being a mum to a six-year-old daughter.
She said: “I grew up knowing I wanted to be a nurse. Having my daughter gave me lots of motivation to do something I would enjoy and that would be a lifelong career.”
Caitlin has had six placements at QEH and says she has always found it to be a “very friendly” hospital. She hopes to be able to take up a position here in September.
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