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Healthcare shines in major awards shortlisting

Excellence in delivering healthcare programmes at the University of Chester has been recognised in the shortlists for several major awards in the field.

The University has reached the finals in sevencategories at The Student Nursing Times awards and is also up for an Educate North award. 

The Student Nursing Times awards brings the nursing community together to shine a light on the brightest talent making their way into the profession, highlighting excellence in all specialties of student nursing. The awards also provide the opportunity to congratulate the lecturers, practice supervisors, universities, trusts and private organisations providing the best support for student nurses during their studies. The awards will be announced on Friday, April 28 2023. 

The University has been shortlisted in the following categories in the Student Nursing Times awards. 

  • Best Student Experience- The return to practice programme 

Developed with NHS partners from across the region, the Return to Practice (RTP) programme attracts students from diverse backgrounds, many of whom having overcome difficult personal circumstances to return to their profession of choice. While diversity is a significant feature of RTP students, one shared characteristic is a wealth of knowledge, skills and lived experience, all of which would be lost to the profession without the opportunities that a return to practice course offers. This bespoke programme was developed with flexibility in mind to accommodate students from a wide geographical area and who are balancing multiple roles and often caring responsibilities. 

There is healthy demand for the course and students return to the profession with increased confidence, renewed skills, and a strong motivation to provide first class care. Most of the students enrolled on the programme will return to the NMC (the Nursing Midwifery Council) register in under eight months irrespective of time out of practice. Many will go on to positions within NHS or private healthcare providers, helping to address local workforce needs.

  • Nurse Educator Provider of the Year (Post Reg)- International nurse Post OSCE support programme

Alder Hey Children’s Hospital (AHCH) and the University of Chester have devised and delivered in collaboration, a post OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) support programme for international nurses. It was developed due to the ambition of both organisations, to deliver an enhanced scheme of pastoral support and learning opportunities to international nurses undertaking their new roles at AHCH. The programme to date has been delivered to 95 participants.

The ‘Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing’ report (2017), recommended that health care professionals receive education on the use of the arts for health and wellbeing outcomes. The University’s Nursing programme embedded creative health as a programme aim and piloted a creative health placement for 60 first year Nursing students. The evaluation identified that although the students were initially hesitant about the learning experience, by the end of placement they appreciated how creative health could be used in their clinical practice and appreciated the benefits it brought. All first year Nursing students at the University will now experience a four-week creative health placement.

  • Teaching Innovation of the Year – Outreach Skills Clinic for Assessment (OSCA)

OSCA has been developed to provide an outreach skills clinic to support students in practice. Using simulation as a learning and assessment strategy, OSCA offers learners an opportunity to experience and rehearse the realities of professional practice. They can book at a time convenient to them to either attend a theoretical session, practice or a skills assessment across Cheshire and Merseyside.

Learners have reported that after attending OSCA they feel more confident and feel more prepared for practice. The scheme has enabled learners to approach skill acquisition and meeting their own personal development needs and supports current and future learners to feel they belong to a practice nursing network across Cheshire and Merseyside. 

In addition to the University, a number of students were shortlisted for awards. This includes Jenny Gilchrist for Most Inspirational Student Nurse of the Year, having used her experiences of overcoming mental health challenges to improve the lives of others; Sophie Hartley and Carley Braide for Student Innovation in Practice following devising a toolkit to support learners during placements, and Lucy Jackson for her toolkit to help raise awareness of the symptoms of trauma in children; and Angela McKenna for Student Nurse of the Year in the Learning Disability category.

  • The University has also been shortlisted as a finalist in the Educate North awards in the Business/Industry Collaboration – University Sector category for the pilot of lived experience connectors. 

Person-centred care is at the focus of health care education at the University and as part of the Nursing Associate and Assistant Practitioner programmes, the team worked with Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s Lived Experience Connectors (LEC) to bring healthcare students from the University into direct and meaningful contact with the people who use their services. It allows for the safe sharing of experiences and an honest exchange of views. 

Professor Angela Simpson, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Society, said:

“I am absolutely thrilled with the shortlisted places for the University of Chester. This is down to the hard work and dedication of our staff and students and their passion for delivering the very best in healthcare. It really does demonstrate the quality we have in our health programmes at the University. I wish them all the very best of luck.”

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