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Pre and post-registration nursing students are being offered the chance of a two-week clinical placement in continuing health care with a Yorkshire commissioning support unit. The unit, which provides professional and business support to GP practices covering more than five million people, is believed to be one of the first in the country to offer placements.

Pre and post-registration nursing students are being offered the chance of a two-week clinical placement in continuing health care with a Yorkshire commissioning support unit. The unit, which provides professional and business support to GP practices covering more than five million people, is believed to be one of the first in the country to offer placements.

Nurses in the unit’s continuing healthcare team, which is offering the placements, assess the needs of patients who are not in hospital but have complex needs and require ongoing support. They also co-ordinate and manage NHS-funded continuing health care for patients of all ages and review existing care packages.

Students see a different side of nursing and meet patients with continuing healthcare needs

 

 

 

Debbie Morton, lead nurse and interim associate director for clinical services at Yorkshire and Humber Commissioning Support Unit (CSU), is the force behind the placements.

 

 

 

She says her main concern is helping students get a better understanding of continuing health care, and raising the profile of England’s 17 CSUs.

 

 

 

‘Many nursing students do not know about the CSUs or our role, and they may not see what happens to patients who require continuing health care when they leave the acute sector. Our aim is to fill that gap in knowledge via placements so that nurses of the future understand the broader health service and the role of different organisations.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

"It is difficult to be removed from the bedside and look at the broader picture"

 

 

 

– Debbie Morton

 

 

 

The unit is taking nursing students and post-registration students from Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sheffield respectively. The CSU has been accredited as a clinical placement provider by the universities and Health Education England, which oversees NHS training.

 

 

 

Ms Morton says that although the placements count towards the required 2,300 hours practice, the lack of ‘bedside care’ is not for everyone. ‘It is difficult to be removed from the bedside and look at the broader picture,’ she says.

 

 

 

‘We place students in continuing healthcare teams that suit them, such as our community team, end of life team or nursing home team. A student working in a spinal injuries unit, for example, might be placed with a mentor in the community and nursing home teams, so they can find out what happens to patients when they leave the unit. They accompany nurse mentors on visits, see them carry out eligibility criteria assessments and attend a panel where the assessment is reviewed and care package drawn up.’

 

 

 

Ms Morton believes that improved understanding of the health system will ultimately improve patient care.

 

 

 

‘If students become nurses who understand NHS organisations and their roles and have a good insight into what is available once patients leave wards, they will be in a far better position to help patients and their families.’

 

 

 

Ms Morton adds that the unit’s nurses must abide by legislation such as the Mental Capacity Act and the National Framework for NHS Continuing Healthcare and NHS-funded Nursing Care.

 

 

 

‘It would be nice to get to the point where all CSUs offer this. But for now, we take students and anyone interested, as long as they are supported by their university.’

 

 

 

University of Sheffield’s School of Nursing and Midwifery placement lead Sally Underwood says students find the experience ‘enlightening’ and ‘interesting’, but some felt one week would be sufficient because of a lack of opportunity to complete clinical competencies.

 

 

 

Yorkshire & Humber CSU: www.yhcs.org.uk

 

 

 

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