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National student nursing awards recognise Trust's support of student resilience

The Student Nursing Times Awards 2019 has shortlisted West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT) in the Student Placement of the Year: Hospital category.

When a student is studying for a nursing degree they have the opportunity to go on a placement; a chance to work in a real-world situation with healthcare professionals to improve their clinical skills and training as a nurse.

But WSFT goes the extra mile for its students by offering them a professional advisor programme. Students about to progress into their third year are given the opportunity to be linked with a senior member of staff, for example a senior matron, for support and advice as they start to plan their future career pathway.

The education team has also created a peer mentor scheme, where students get to meet each other confidentially to discuss their experiences and take ownership of their acute setting learning experience, feeding back with any concerns or particular comments about their placements to the education team.

After finishing their placement at WSFT, one second year student nurse said: “Being a peer mentor enables students to gain skills they wouldn’t ordinarily gain as a student nurse.  Boosting confidence and enhancing communication skills along the way, I now feel confident talking in large groups, teaching students through evidence-based practice and being an advocate for other students.”

Diane Last, clinical education lead at WSFT, said: “We believe that developing students with resilience and leadership skills will benefit our workforce of the future, enabling our organisation and the NHS as a whole to continue to provide a quality service with confident and competent practitioners.

“A student’s nursing placement can sometimes be their first chance to see and experience real nursing care in practice, and it can have an impact on someone’s overall confidence in their ability and even with the success of their course.

“The more we can do as a Trust to support our NHS stars of the future the better – the nursing profession is hard but incredibly rewarding, so the fact we have been shortlisted as one of the top hospital student placements nationally is an important accolade.”

The shortlisted teams will present their application to a panel of judges at the Nursing Times head office, with the overall winners announced at the Student Nursing Times Awards on Friday 26 April at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London.

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(From left to right) Helen Vickery, clinical practice facilitator, Faye Powell, University of Suffolk nursing student who is currently on her placement at West Suffolk Hospital, and Diane Last, clinical education lead.

(From left to right) Helen Vickery, clinical practice facilitator, Faye Powell, University of Suffolk nursing student who is currently on her placement at West Suffolk Hospital, and Diane Last, clinical education lead.