Student nurses and staff that will be battling coronavirus on the frontlines have spoken about what has inspired them to volunteer.
400 Stirling student nurses and staff have signed up to work alongside the NHS offering much needed support.
They will join 12,000 other students and staff on the frontlines.
One of the students volunteering is second year Nicola Phillips. Phillips served in the army and chose to study Adult Nursing at the University of Stirling.
Mum-of-two, Phillips has spoken about her willingness to provide support for NHS staff.
“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.”
Another student who will join Phillips is third year Keeley Long, from Galway.
“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.”
Both of the students have said that they are nervous about working on the frontlines battling coronavirus, but both are willing to give back to the NHS.
“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,” Phillips said.
“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.”
Long spoke about the opportunities that serving during the crisis can provide student nurses.
“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.”
The students will support NHS Forth Valley nurses who they have worked with on previous placements.
I wanted to help the patients because they are probably feeling very scared and alone.Third year Keeley Long
Clinically-trained university staff will also be returning to provide support.
Fiona Smith, a Senior Lecturer in Acute Nursing and Faculty Lead for Clinical Skills and Simulation, who also teaches advanced life support will be returning to help NHS staff.
Smith worked at the Intensive Therapy Unit at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. She left nursing for a career in education in 2003 and has worked at Stirling since 2017. She is hoping to return to a clinical role in the coming weeks.
“My passion for nursing has never left me – it simply refocused to allow me to educate and support the next generation of nurses.
“At this time of need, there was no doubt in my mind that returning to help frontline care, in any way that I can, was the natural thing to do. It hasn’t yet been confirmed where I will be posted – but I would anticipate a return to the intensive therapy unit, given my clinical background.”
My passion for nursing never left me.Fiona Smith
“It is fantastic that the University is supporting our return to clinical practice at such an important time. I am looking forward to being back – but naturally a bit nervous. NHS Forth Valley and our other clinical partners have done so much to support our students over the years; it is a privilege for me to be able to support them now in a clinical capacity.”
Stirling nurses have been praised by the local community, elected officials and their fellow students for volunteering to support the NHS amid the Coronavirus outbreak.
Student nurses and staff will receive support, counselling and wellbeing support from the Faculty of Health and Sport, Student Support Services and the Students’ Union.
The university is also providing support for any student that is volunteering.