Students are virtually attending various patient appointments and reviews.
Student nurses in Essex are thought to be the first in the country to undertake “virtual” placements.
Twenty-one students from the University of Essex and Anglia Ruskin’s University – many of whom are shielding – are virtually attending various health visits, including new birth visits, child developmental assessments, and antenatal evaluations.
It comes after the COVID-19 pandemic called into question whether a number of student nurses at universities in Essex would be able to complete the essential nine-week placement element of their nursing degrees.
Virgin Care’s Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service (ECFWS) Practice Education Team came up with the solution of using specialist secure software to allow the students to attend placements virtually, meaning the third-year student nurses are able to continue their studies and qualify by the end of this year – as originally planned.
It has allowed the students to obtain the necessary 300 to 500 practice hours required to qualify.
Feedback from students such as Romi Dhillon (pictured), a third-year adult nursing student pictured above, has been positive.
Positive feedback from students.
Romi said: “Virtual placement is a brilliant idea for those like me who are unable to attend a clinical area due to the pandemic. This virtual placement is allowing me to continue practising towards qualifying. I look forward to learning on a 1:1 and group basis over the next 8 weeks with the support from Virgin Care health professionals gaining a real insight into their roles as health visitors and school nurses.”
Karen Wilson, the Regional Education Lead for Virgin Care’s training department The Learning Enterprise, said: “We are committed to help bring about the nursing professionals of the future in the communities that we service and offering nursing degrees in partnership with local universities is really important to us.
“When the pandemic started we had a number of students in Essex who were shielding and we did not want them to lose out after showing so much commitment so developed this innovative programme”
Annie Cowcher, an Education Champion from Anglia Ruskin University, said: “Virgin Care made the amazing, and totally unsolicited, offer of providing a virtual placement for these students. This placement has commenced and I have rarely received such positive feedback from students.
“They describe it as a friendly, amazing experience in which they are learning much and receiving close supervision. In fact, I have been told ‘this is the best placement ever’!”