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York nursing students swap uniforms for pyjamas

Posted on 7 March 2013

University of York nursing students will swap their uniforms for pyjamas this week as they find out what it’s like to be a patient.

Alison Foster-Lill and Louise Towse in the Department of Health Sciences’ Clinical Simulation Unit. Photo: Jane Milsom

As part of the national NHS Change Day call to action, second year nursing students are running the Clinical Simulation Unit in the University’s Department of Health Sciences as a ward for the day, with students playing the roles of patients, relatives and carers, as well as medical staff.

A purpose-built education facility, the Clinical Simulation Unit includes two four-bedded bays, a nurses’ station, an intensive care suite, a clean preparation area, sluice and community bedroom.

The aim of the day is to experience what it is like to be a patient first hand and to find ways of improving care for patients.

Department of Health Sciences’ staff have provided scenarios based on their real life experiences in practice and will join in the role plays.

In total around 30 staff and students will take part in the event, which is being held in advance of the national NHS Change Day on 13 March. The Change Day is designed to highlight that one simple idea can lead to a new way of thinking which can transform patient care.

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

Louise, who is Vice President of NurSoc, said: “We are really excited about this event, which will allow us to experience a ward through a patient’s eyes and to learn what is really important to them.”   

Two sessions will be held during the day so that all students have the chance to be a patient as well as a member of staff. The scenarios are as true to life as possible and centre on adult patients with multiple problems. Students will be taking on the roles of surgical, elderly and mental health patients, as well as carers and a bereaved relative.

Louise said: “Department staff have created a full set of medical notes for each patient and we will need to follow the correct procedures for admitting and documenting patients. The scenarios will be led by the patients, with medical staff responding to their needs.

“We are sure the experience will be extremely valuable and shape the way we develop as nurses. Once we have had chance to reflect on what we have learned, we will be making a pledge online as part of the NHS Change Day.”

We are really excited about this event, which will allow us to experience a ward through a patient’s eyes

Louise Towse

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. We are delighted that NurSoc have organised this day, as it reflects our students’ genuine desire to understand care from a patient’s perspective.”

The idea of the NHS Change Day is 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 originally hoped to involve 65,000 people – the NHS has existed for 65 years – but have already received over 90,000 pledges.

The initiative was devised and is driven by new young and emergent clinical and managerial leaders from primary and secondary care across the NHS in England.

Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England, said: “NHS Change Day is a fantastic opportunity to join a movement of young leaders who want to make a difference in the NHS. I am hugely enthusiastic about the idea and will be pledging my support.”

Notes to editors:

Contact details

Caron Lett
Press Officer

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