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Racing back to hospital practice

When Esther Poveda saw an advert for band 5 nurses at Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, she was keen to apply. But she had worked in a care home since coming to the UK from her native Spain 12 months earlier, so she was nervous.

When Esther Poveda saw an advert for band 5 nurses at Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, she was keen to apply. But she had worked in a care home since coming to the UK from her native Spain 12 months earlier, so she was nervous.

‘It was three years since I had worked in a hospital in Spain and I knew the role would be different over here. I have been nursing for 12 years and felt ready for a new challenge. I enjoyed my work in the care home but wanted to widen my experience.’

Ms Poveda was lucky. Not only did the trust want to recruit a cohort of registered nurses to work on the hospital wards, it was also offering successful applicants the opportunity of a place on its innovative ‘return to work in an acute environment’ (RACE) programme.

Esther Poveda says that the RACE course gave her confidence

Associate director of nursing Maddie Groves says the course was designed to help qualified nurses working in care homes or other domiciliary settings to return to work in an acute hospital.

‘Many nurses who have been working outside the acute setting can lack confidence in returning to work on a ward,’ she says.

‘Nursing practice is evolving constantly, and we offer nurses the chance to update their skills in a supportive environment.’

The course is led by practice educators and Yeovil Academy, the trust’s in-house training facility. By the third week of the four-week course the students’ time is split between classroom and ward, working with a mentor.

‘The students will be supported by their mentor in practice for three months while they complete practice-based competencies, after which they receive the offer of a permanent position.’

Ms Groves says the trust received 15 applications for the first RACE intake in March this year, and offered places to 11 students after interview. As one of the first cohort of RACE students, Ms Poveda is currently completing her practice-based competencies on the hospital’s respiratory ward.

Academic and clinical skills training.

Record keeping.

Dementia care.

Tissue viability skills.

End of life and bereavement care.

Risk assessment skills.

She says: ‘The course helped me to feel confident about my ability to do the job.

‘My mentor is always there if I have any questions and everyone on the ward has helped me to settle in. I have made the right move.’

Respiratory ward senior sister Andrea Chell says: ‘When Esther came to us she was knowledgeable and confident and knew what to expect. That meant she was able to do the job immediately, which was great.

‘Previously, it might have taken two or three months for new nurses to reach the same level.’

Practice educator Sarah Harvey says: ‘It’s been great to bring the students’ expertise into the ward environment’.


Further information

The RACE course at Yeovil

NHS Careers returning to nursing advice

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