Hundreds of Sheffield Hallam healthcare students volunteer to join NHS workforce

15th April 2020

Over 600 final-year nursing and allied health students from Sheffield Hallam University have volunteered to join the NHS workforce immediately and help battle the Covid-19 pandemic.

This includes 376 nursing students who will be joining the NHS colleagues sooner than anticipated as part of the UK’s response to the virus.

The healthcare students are in the final six months of their degrees and will become paid volunteers. The posts will support key staff involved in the fight on the frontline – including nursing, midwifery, paramedic practice, operating department practice, radiotherapy and oncology, diagnostic radiography, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and end of life care.

Registration operates on a voluntary basis Training sessions are being delivered by academics from Sheffield Hallam’s College of Health, Wellbeing and Life Sciences to help prepare students for the frontline. The sessions will provide the latest Covid-19 guidance, oxygen therapy, advice on how the students can look after their own mental wellbeing and guidance on the necessary personal protection equipment.

Professor Sir Chris Husbands, Sheffield Hallam University Vice-Chancellor, said: “I am immensely proud of our final year healthcare students stepping up to join the NHS during this extraordinary crisis. Their confidence to volunteer is a testament to the excellent teaching they have received from colleagues in the College of Health, Wellbeing and Life Sciences. The support they will be able to provide to key workers on the frontline will be invaluable. I wish them well and encourage them all to ensure they make full use of the advice and guidance on the personal protection equipment they will be provided with.”

The students have each specified the region that they would prefer to be placed, with many expected to stay at local trusts across South Yorkshire – including Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust and Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Professor Sally Shearer, Executive Director of Nursing and Quality at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are indebted to those final year students in the last six months of their education programme who have kindly opted to undertake an extended placement period, joining our teams and providing frontline care during the Covid-19 pandemic. We are likely to see an increased number of children and young people accessing our services over the forthcoming weeks, and have been working hard to reconfigure our teams to meet this demand. Our extended placement students are an incredibly valuable part of this response.

“This national initiative to increase the nursing workforce is the result of an enormous amount of work by the Chief Nursing Officers of the four nations, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the Royal College of Nursing and the Council of Deans. Locally we have drawn upon our very strong relationship with Sheffield Hallam University, to whom we are incredibly grateful for the work undertaken to make this happen. We look forward to welcoming our new recruits next week.”

Dr Toni Schwarz, Dean for the College of Health and Wellbeing at Sheffield Hallam, said: “I want to pay tribute to the exceptional commitment of our staff who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make this deployment possible. Mobilising one of the biggest groups of healthcare students in the UK has been a huge logistical challenge. As a truly civic university we are proud of the positive impact that our students will have at this time of national crisis.”

Sheffield Hallam is one of the largest providers of nursing, midwifery and allied health professions education in the UK. This includes education and training for all fields of nursing – adult, child, mental health and learning disabilities.

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