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Students show a creative new approach to healthcare to leading Nursing Officer

One of the country’s leading figures in Nursing has visited the University to learn more about a creative new approach to healthcare education and practice.

Hilary Garratt CBE, the Deputy Chief Nursing Officer NHS England and NHS Improvement, who is also a Visiting Professor in the University’s Faculty of Health and Social Care, met with staff and students at University Centre Birkenhead.

She came to see the creative health placement that is currently being delivered at Birkenhead which is the first known opportunity of its kind. It has been developed by the Faculty of Health and Social Care and the Philip Barker Centre for Creative Learning as a direct result of the NHS Long Term Plan 2019, changes and demands to the practice circuit and the 2017 inquiry report into Creative Health.

The students on the placement are working alongside artists to develop their understanding of creative health and their skills to facilitate art-based activities for wellbeing for both University students and members of the public. They are being assessed on their person-centred approach to care, communication skills and professional nursing values, which contribute to their course requirements. Alongside the art-based work, the students also have held a café for members of the public to drop-in and take part in some of the activities.

There are currently 32 BN Nursing students taking part in a six-week creative health placement with a further 32 students due to start in May 2022. The group is working with four artists – String of Hearts; Cheshire Dance; ARC and 42nd Street to facilitate and create health-based activities for University students, staff and members of the public.

Hilary met and took part in a planned music activity co-led by the students and Amina Hussain, the music therapist from String of Hearts, a community arts organisation which brings older people together through music making. She also met the placement leads Professor Victoria Ridgway from the Faculty of Health and Social Care and Nick Ponsillo, Director of the Philip Barker Centre for Creative Learning, alongside the wider Faculty team.

Professor Victoria Ridgway, from the University’s Faculty of Health and Social Care, said: We were really pleased that Hilary visited the placement and endorsed the work we are doing in the Faculty to promote creative health.

“It is hoped that Hilary will visit again as this is an innovative placement that potentially could be adopted by other higher education institutions.”

Nick Ponsillo added: “It’s great that the Faculty’s growing interest in and commitment to creative health is being appreciated. The collaboration between health and arts professionals is vital to securing the future benefits of creative health and access to arts-based experiences as a recognised and everyday part of our social, physical and emotional wellbeing.”

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