Almost 400 student nurses and up to nine staff from Stirling University are joining frontline workers in the battle against coronavirus.
The UK and Scottish Governments have called upon all student nurses to support the national effort by choosing to fulfil their next placement as a paid member of NHS staff.
So far, across Scotland, around 12,000 students and former health care workers have stepped forward to join the fight against Covid-19.
A total of 396 student nurses from Stirling have now volunteered for the initiative, which will see them continue to work towards their degrees as planned.
In addition, nine members of clinically trained university staff are in discussions with the NHS, with a view to returning to provide support.
Nicola Phillips, a mother-of-two, served in the Army before opting to study adult nursing at Stirling. She is now in her second year and is driven to support her NHS colleagues during this pandemic.
She said: “It was quite a simple decision for me: People are ill; the NHS needs nurses and doctors; I am training to be a nurse and have skills that could help. I wouldn’t be able to just sit at home.”
‘It was quite a simple decision for me: People are ill; the NHS needs nurses and doctors; I am training to be a nurse and have skills that could help. I wouldn’t be able to just sit at home.’Nicola Phillips
For the duration of her next placement, Ms Phillips will join NHS Forth Valley and will work alongside those nurses who have guided her through her previous placements.
She continued: “I do feel some anxiety about my decision to help, especially as I have a family, but I don’t really think about fear. I am just desperate to go out there and help – that overrides my anxiety.
“I will be supporting the nurses in whatever way I can and will be gaining valuable experience at the same time.
“Some of the nurses I’ll be working with have guided and mentored me through my journey so far – so it’s only natural that I want give back and help them too.”
Keeley Long, from Galway in Ireland, is a third-year adult nursing student at Stirling and has volunteered to support the Covid-19 response.
‘I feel nervous about moving to frontline care – but I’m also excited to start.’Keeley Long
She said: “I have seen, first-hand, the need for many students to support this effort. I wanted to help the patients because they are probably feeling very scared and alone.
“I feel nervous about moving to frontline care – but I’m also excited to start.
“From a learning perspective, this is one of the best times to be a student nurse – we will experience different circumstances that will stick with us throughout our careers.”
Professor Jayne Donaldson, dean of the faculty of health sciences and sport at the university, said: “I am very proud that our dedicated and talented army of student nurses, alongside staff from the university, have stepped forward to support the national effort.
“Our students can take confidence from the training and skills that they’ve learned and honed during their time at Stirling – and I know that they will make a real difference to the coronavirus response and play an important role in ensuring the health and wellbeing of patients.
“I know our entire university community will join me in thanking our students and staff for their phenomenal response – and wish them all the best as they join the frontline in the coming weeks.”
Scotland’s chief nursing officer Fiona McQueen added: “I want to thank each and every student who has volunteered their support so far.
“The response we have received shows the incredible spirit of our future NHS workforce – your dedication is truly inspirational.”