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York nursing students join NHS Change Day team

Two University of York nursing students will meet the Chief Nursing Officer for England, Jane Cummings, at the Healthcare Innovation Expo in London today.

Organisers of the NHS Change Day on 13 March are hosting a stand at the Expo and have invited second-year students Louise Towse and Alex Young as their special guests to meet Jane Cummings and other senior health officials.


Nursing students Louise Towse and Claire Walker at the York event
The NHS Change Day is designed to create a mass movement of people working in the NHS demonstrating the difference they can make to patient care by pledging one simple act.

Organisers of the Change Day were so impressed by an event York students held last week, they have asked two of the students to join them at the Expo, which will also be attended by the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt.

The York event involved student nurses swapping uniforms for pyjamas so they could experience what it was like to be a patient. The Clinical Simulation Unit in the University’s Department of Health Sciences was turned into a ward for the day, with students and staff playing the roles of patients, relatives and carers, as well as medical staff.

The event was the brainchild of student nurse Louise Towse and was organised by the University’s student nursing society, NurSoc.

Louise Towse, Vice President of NurSoc, said: “The aim of the day was to experience what it is like to be a patient, so that we could learn what is really important to them and see how we can improve patient care.

“The day provided plenty of food for thought and will certainly shape the way we develop as nurses. We feel very privileged to be invited to attend the Healthcare Innovation Expo and to meet Jane Cummings and share our ideas.”

We feel very privileged to be invited to attend the Healthcare Innovation Expo and to meet Jane Cummings

Louise Towse

The York event was held in the Clinical Simulation Unit, a purpose-built education facility, which includes two four-bedded bays, a nurses’ station, an intensive care suite, a clean preparation area, sluice and community bedroom.

Department of Health Sciences’ staff provided scenarios based on their real life experiences in practice, and focused on adult patients with multiple problems. Students took on the roles of surgical, elderly and mental health patients, as well as carers and a bereaved relative.

Alison Foster-Lill, Programme Leader for Pre-registration Nursing, from the Department of Health Sciences, said: “We know that providing students with the opportunity to take on the role of patients enables them to develop a greater understanding and insight into their needs.

“This is why clinical simulation is such an important teaching strategy as it assists students to experience care in real time and in a very realistic, yet safe, environment. The event organised by NurSoc reflects our students’ genuine desire to understand care from a patient’s perspective.

“We are thrilled that Louise and Alex, the Vice President and President of NurSoc, have been invited to join the NHS Change Day team in London at such a high-profile event. It is a wonderful reward for all the hard work they have put in and the dedication they have shown to improving patient care.”

Based on their experiences as patients, the nursing students are now making pledges as part of the NHS Change Day. Organisers of the national call to action originally hoped to involve 65,000 people – the NHS has existed for 65 years – but have already received over 90,000 pledges.

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