Sheffield Hallam is one of the largest providers of nursing education in the UK, with 2,500 pre-registration students studying nursing in 2022. This includes education and training for all fields of nursing including adult, child, mental health and learning disabilities. As part of their training student nurses undertake placements in a range of local trusts, private and voluntary organisations across our region including in South Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.
In the first year of the nursing degree courses at Sheffield Hallam, students learn and develop a range of clinical skills. In year one they undertake a simulated placement block as part of the 600 hours they complete over the duration of their course. Sheffield Hallam is investing significantly into specialist equipment, staff, software and clinical spaces such as mock wards so students can strengthen their decision making and clinical skills as well as building their confidence as they train. These simulated placements are part of the 2,300 hours of clinical placements each student completes as part of their training. In year two students take part in a simulated community placement – working with local charities and organisations in the community to undertake a health promotion and education project.
In 2022 a cohort of 600 second year nursing students were given three weeks to design and deliver a health promotion or health education project either face-to-face or virtually within local communities. Students had to find and approach a local charity or organisation to work with and were supported by the Sheffield Hallam’s employability team and the volunteering team at the Student’s Union.
The initiative had a clear ethos: that nursing isn’t just treating illness – it is also teaching people to be healthy and preventing ill health through sharing knowledge and ideas. Local charities involved in the projects included organisations related to drugs and alcohol rehabilitation, families of prisoner offenders support groups, Baby Basics, foodbanks, schools, Guide and Scout groups.
“I recently had the pleasure of welcoming some of your students to come and talk to my Y9 pupils at my school - about period poverty. I just wanted to let you know how impressed I was with their delivery, their maturity and the way in which they conducted themselves. They are a credit to your establishment! I would be more than happy to welcome them back at any stage in the future.” Eileen Ronan, Teacher of Vocational Education, Oakwood High School, Rotherham
Here, we describe three community projects that our nursing students have delivered over the last 12 months, helping to support local people lead healthier lives, whilst building their skills for their future careers in nursing.
Nursing skills workshop with the Guides
A group of nursing students from Sheffield Hallam visited the 142nd Guides unit in Frechville, Sheffield to teach the girls aged 10–14 years about nursing. The workshop delivered some basic first aid skills including bandaging wounds and CPR training. The students also gave the girls an overview to nursing as a profession and held a discussion about nurturing positive mental health and wellbeing.
The group chose to approach the Guides because they wanted them to feel empowered if they ever found themselves in a situation which required first aid. The nursing students also aimed to inspire a new generation of young women to consider a career in the nursing profession. The feedback from the session was very positive and the student group said if they were to run the event again, they would factor in more time for greater discussion and the expansion of the topics covered as the Guides were such an enthusiastic audience.
"I hope we were able to act as good role models, inspiring these amazing girls and empowering them to believe in themselves, who they are and show them they can do anything they put their minds to.’’ Becky Howsham, Sheffield Hallam student
Helping children to reduce loneliness and isolation in the elderly population through art
Children from Listerdale Primary School and 30th Scout unit in Rotherham took part in an art project run by a group of nursing students to support the elderly population in the local community. The children wrote poems and letters, and created visual artwork in the form of paintings, postcards and booklets. These were distributed to residents of care homes and dementia centres in the local area.
‘‘We hope to provide some happiness to people with dementia as well as hopefully easing loneliness, while teaching our children the value of community, kindness and looking after our elderly.’’ Leanne Walsh, Sheffield Hallam student
Understanding mental health booklet for children
The significant impact the pandemic has had and continues to have on children’s mental health was chosen as a community project by one of the groups of nursing students from Sheffield Hallam. The group designed a booklet for schools to use as a teaching resource with children aged six to nine years of age. The key focus was producing a child-friendly booklet, which young children could understand, interact with, and learn from. The group decided to use the characters from the Disney film Inside Out, which featured five characters each representing an emotion: anger, sadness, disgust, fear and joy. The work booklet gives each child an opportunity to engage in self-reflection in their own time to support how they manage their own feelings.
"As student paediatric nurses, this project helped us to gain knowledge, skills and insight into how to speak to children about sensitive topics such as mental health, consider their psychosocial needs and collaborate as a team - all which will support us in future practice." Dani Reynolds, Sheffield Hallam Student
To conclude their community projects the nursing students produced a report summarising their findings and a poster to promote their chosen health topic. The reports found that the student’s work in the community had encouraged the groups to become more aware of their health and take ownership of their health, which could prevent future illness.
This ongoing community focused aspect of Sheffield Hallam’s student nursing training is valued by our communities and cements our commitment to working together for positive change within community health and wellbeing.