Virtual world of training

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IT’S a virtual world for hospital students working in the Hartlepool area.

A new intake of healthcare apprentices at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust are getting real life training with a difference.

They are getting to work in groups and play the roles of patients as well as healthcare assistants in scenarios which give them the practice they need for the real life experiences they will meet on the wards.

All agreed they enjoyed the experience, especially as it came right at the start of their careers in nursing.

The apprentices will be working at the University Hospital of North Tees and the University Hospital of Hartlepool over the next two years, while they complete a diploma in advanced level clinical health care support level 3, in health and social care at Stockton Riverside College or at Hartlepool College of Further Education.

They got an idea of what they would be doing on a typical day on the wards, including positioning patients for feeding, learning about adapted cutlery, helping with personal hygiene and learning about the significance of patient documentation.

They also learned the values associated with nursing in the trust; including those of care with compassion, listening and communicating in a way that patients understand.

Hannah Fleetham, 18, Rebecca Mawhinney, 18 and Sada Foster, 17 are from Hartlepool.

Hannah said: “I chose to apply for the apprenticeship because I wanted to get practical experience as well as a qualification. The training day on the virtual ward has given us chance to learn some practical skills and get to see what the wards look like before we start our first shift.”

Sophie Steel, 20 and Emma Reed, 18 are from Stockton and have become good friends since joining the apprenticeship scheme.

Sophie was previously working in a care home. She said: “I really wanted to get experience of working in a hospital and this is a fantastic way to do that.

“In the future I would like to continue to train in healthcare and become a paramedic. I know that the experience I gain from caring for patients on the wards will help me reach my goal.”

Emma said: “I was previously at college, studying law. I later decided that I wanted a career in healthcare and thought this would be the best way to start.

“Once I have completed my apprenticeship I want to train as a mental health nurse.

“The role play has been really good on the virtual ward. It makes you appreciate what is must be like to be a patient. We are both really looking forward to starting work on the wards now.”

Director of nursing, patient safety and quality Sue Smith said: “We are delighted to be welcoming another group of apprentices to the trust. The apprenticeship scheme gives the students practical, hands-on experience working as healthcare assistants while gaining a nationally recognised qualification.

“Apprentices play an extremely important role; supporting the nursing staff and making sure our patients get the high standards of care they deserve.”