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Nursing students inspire professor to rejoin COVID-19 front line

Alison Bardsley returned to wards for the first time in 30 years during the first wave
Alison Bardsley

Alison Bardsley returned to wards for the first time in 30 years during the first wave of the pandemic last year

A nursing academic has been inspired by her students to return to the COVID-19 front line for a second time.

Assistant professor for non-medical prescribing Alison Bardsley started working in a NHS front line role in mid-January. Professor Bardsley, who teaches at Coventry University’s school of nursing, midwifery and health, said: ‘My students – advanced practitioners – are out there and are very much on the front line.

Using annual leave and weekends to work as a band 7 ward nurse

‘I feel so incredibly proud of them. To manage to do that during a pandemic and study

Alison Bardsley returned to wards for the first time in 30 years during the first wave of the pandemic last year

Alison Bardsley

A nursing academic has been inspired by her students to return to the COVID-19 front line for a second time.

Assistant professor for non-medical prescribing Alison Bardsley started working in a NHS front line role in mid-January. Professor Bardsley, who teaches at Coventry University’s school of nursing, midwifery and health, said: ‘My students – advanced practitioners – are out there and are very much on the front line.

Using annual leave and weekends to work as a band 7 ward nurse

‘I feel so incredibly proud of them. To manage to do that during a pandemic and study is incredible and is a testament to them. They are juggling work, studying and family.’

A former bladder and bowel specialist in the community, Professor Bardsley will be using her annual leave and weekends to work as a band 7 nurse on a rehabilitation step-down ward.

It had been nearly 30 years since she had been on a hospital ward when she decided to return to the front line during the first wave of COVID-19 last spring. She was one of thousands who made the commitment to return and help colleagues during the first surge of the virus.

In April 2020, NHS England said 4,800 nurses and other healthcare professionals had returned to deal with the impact of COVID-19.

Decision to return prompted by increased workload for students and peers

After the pandemic’s first wave eased, Professor Bardsley went back to the university, where she has worked for 12 years. Her decision to return for a second time stemmed from the increased workload she saw her students and peers managing in January.

‘I think that is where my drive to return comes from. I heard students’ stories, the stories of my sister, who is a district nurse, my friends on the front line, and I felt I was not doing enough. There has been a pull to go back and to help.’

Chief nursing officer Nina Morgan said: ‘It has been amazing to see people like Alison stepping up and playing their part at such a challenging time. The role they have played has been invaluable and is very much appreciated by patients, as well as staff on the wards.’


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