Nursing studies

Catalyst for ideas

The Nursing and Midwifery Challenge is an annual competition for third-year nursing and midwifery students at Plymouth University. It started as a way of celebrating International Nurses Day, placing our students centre stage as they showcase innovative ideas to improve care quality.

The Nursing and Midwifery Challenge is an annual competition for third-year nursing and midwifery students at Plymouth University. It started as a way of celebrating International Nurses Day, placing our students centre stage as they showcase innovative ideas to improve care quality.

The challenge encourages students to identify improvements to patient care, services or practice and develop their ideas for potential application in the workplace. Searching for innovative approaches to health care must be integral to NHS and social care services if care is to be improved. Embedding an ethos of service improvement in the undergraduate curriculum can give students confidence and contribute to their employability and career development.

The challenge offers a chance to use creative skills and can make a real difference.

 

The university’s challenge encourages students to capitalise on placements that offer opportunities to identify potential quality improvements. Health care is delivered in challenging and changeable environments, requiring healthcare professionals to be solution focused, so it is important that the university prepares students in this way.

 

As there are many barriers to innovation, it is important to encourage students to be creative. The university also wants to strengthen relationships with healthcare providers while encouraging enterprise in our students.

 

The challenge offers a chance to use creative skills and can make a real difference to care as well as a student’s career, particularly when facing the critical transition from student to qualified nurse.

 

The competition has three stages:

 

Initial concept: Entrants complete a form detailing their initial concept; from these a shortlist is generated.

 

Further development: Students consider areas that may facilitate or inhibit their concept and a list of finalists is compiled.

 

Finals: The finalists are invited to present their ideas to a judging panel on International Nurses Day in front of an audience of peers and clinical staff. Students are supported at each stage of the competition with enterprise workshops and advice clinics. The judges include a local trust nursing director, a local businessperson and the previous year’s winner, who also shares an update on their winning idea.

 

Winning ideas have been adopted in practice, and the judges disseminate them across their networks. The partnership between the university and local service providers is key to the success of the challenge.

 

2012 challenge winner Sarah Richards

 

‘While on placements with acutely and critically ill patients, I devised a fluid monitoring system that helps in the early detection of fluid overload or dehydration. My idea, which won Plymouth University’s 2012 Nursing and Midwifery Challenge, builds on current practice and has been implemented in the unit where I now work in Truro, Cornwall.

 

‘The challenge made me believe I could make a difference to patient care. Winning the competition has opened many doors, creating new opportunities and the assurance that new ideas can really bring about change in health outcomes. Since winning the competition my nursing career in critical care has flourished. I would like to think that my experiences will also inspire others, and that the competition will continue to attract forward-thinking individuals with dynamic ideas.’

 

Encouraging students in this way equips them with the knowledge, skills and confidence to continually seek to improve care throughout their careers.

 

Plymouth University’s Nursing and Midwifery Challenge - www.plymouth.ac.uk/whats-on/nursing-and-midwifery-challenge-award-ceremony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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