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Final year medics and nurses volunteer to help during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted on 17 April 2020

A 22-year-old final year nursing student at the University of York has volunteered to work on a COVID-19 hospital ward.

Final year student nurse, Grace Greenwood

Grace Greenwood will start work on Monday 20 April at York Hospital.

The University’s students are volunteering in different ways, from entering the NHS workforce early to taking up volunteering roles to help the NHS build capacity.


Grace is among 100 final year student nurses who have come forward to volunteer to start work early for the NHS as part of extended placements.

In addition, over 100 Hull York Medical School (HYMS) students graduated early and are eligible to take up interim posts. And more than 30 Medicine students from HYMS are undertaking volunteering opportunities at Trusts and GP surgeries across the region. 

Grace, from York, said: “I just wanted to do my bit, it seemed a totally natural thing to me. It is a bit daunting but I have done the training and I just want to get stuck in.

“When I told my mum she burst out crying but I know she is proud of me. A lot of my friends are nurses and they understand why. 

“I think it will be an amazing experience and I will learn so much and gain so much knowledge. I am excited and scared in equal measure.”


Grace, who is just weeks away from completing her BSc in Adult Nursing, said she had received fantastic support from her lecturers.

“My personal supervisor has been amazing, giving me so much advice and support. She has been so reassuring.”

Professor Paul Galdas, Head of Nursing & Midwifery at the University of York, said: "We have been working hard to ensure that our nursing students are able to support the local community in the battle against COVID-19. 

“Together with colleagues from the Department of Health Sciences, we have been working out ways to ensure that students make the right choice for them and their families, and are able to complete their nursing education with us."


 HYMS students helping in the COVID-19 fight include:

  • Vigneshwar Veeraspan, third year medical student - Vignesh set up the York branch of the National Health Supporters,  national initiative where medical students can help volunteer to do daily errands for NHS workers 
  • Alice Norman, third year medical student -  Alice is currently working as a Clinical Student Assistant in York. Her duties include making telephone calls to extremely vulnerable and at risk patients offering advice and reassurance 
  • Ruth Barker, fourth year medical student - Ruth is working at York Hospital as a trained nurse
  • 20 HYMS students are volunteering for the Humber Trust

Professor Una Macleod, Dean of Hull York Medical School, said: “I am proud that we, as a medical school, are contributing to tackling this challenge. Our aim is to produce brilliant doctors, who are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to deliver outstanding care to patients in this region and beyond. Our priority is to ensure our students are fully prepared to enter the workforce having completed the necessary training they need to safely deliver confident, compassionate and patient centred care.”

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Our response to the coronavirus pandemic

We're working with partners in York and further afield as part of a global effort to fight the COVID-19 virus. From covid analysis in the labs to producing face shields for the frontline, we're using our knowledge and expertise to support the effort.