Nurse cadet scheme aims to attract young people to profession
Scheme aims to tackle nursing shortages by offering a chance to study and gain hands-on experience, and encouraging young people to consider a career in healthcare
A group of young people got their first taste of hands-on healthcare at the launch of a nursing cadet scheme in Northern Ireland.
The recruits are the first in the region to take part in the RCN Prince of Wales Nursing Cadet Scheme, which gives young people the chance to study and gain practical experience.
The scheme was trialled in 2019 in Wales with the support of the then Prince of Wales – now the King – before being rolled out to other UK nations, including a launch in Scotland earlier this year.
Scheme includes a placement and learning modules
The Northern Ireland scheme is being run in partnership with Southern Regional College and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.
Cadets will complete 18 learning modules and a clinical observational placement before submitting a portfolio to gain a completion certificate.
They will then be supported to look at next steps, which may include a level 2 or 3 healthcare-related diploma, a foundation degree or undergraduate degree in nursing or another health profession.
Scheme aims to tackle nurse shortages
The launch of the cadet scheme in Belfast comes as health and care services in Northern Ireland continue to grapple with widespread nurse staffing shortages.
Belfast Health and Social Care Trust was again forced to put out an appeal to off-duty nurses to come into work last month to help out in its ‘exceptionally busy’ emergency department.
The latest figures from the Department of Health Northern Ireland show there were 1,637 nursing vacancies on 30 June this year – although this had fallen from 1,961 at the same time last year.
Scheme ‘teaches vital skills and opens doors’
Head of the RCN Prince of Wales Nursing Cadet Scheme Dave Clarke said extending the scheme to Northern Ireland would encourage more young people to consider a career in healthcare.
‘Across the UK the scheme has made a real difference to the lives of young people, opening doors to careers in healthcare and teaching vital skills for their future,’ he added.
Director of the RCN in Northern Ireland Rita Devlin said: ‘This scheme is a great opportunity for young people who might not normally consider a career in nursing or healthcare to gain hands-on experience at an early stage.
‘Young people are our future, and this scheme will open doors towards a career in healthcare.’
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