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Innovative learning opportunities for students at UHB

Published on 17/11/2021

The School of Nursing, AHPs and Midwifery, at University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) NHS Foundation Trust, is leading the way for a change in clinical practice learning for student nurses, AHPs and midwives, as well as trainee nursing associates (TNAs), in the West Midlands.

On Tuesday 2 November, a surgical ward at Solihull Hospital will dramatically change the way it works, with two of its bays being run by students, making it the first of its kind within the Trust.

The student-led clinical learning environment (SLCLE) will provide a unique opportunity, where students will get hands-on, first-hand experience in running a ward and caring for its patients.

Students and trainees from the local universities, including University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University, and University College Birmingham, will work with their peers, and alongside a dedicated clinical educator, taking responsibility for the assessing, planning and delivery of care to an identified group of patients under the supervision of a registered practitioner who will act as a coach.

The SLCLE at Solihull Hospital will consist of a six bedded bay and a five bedded bay on the ward, which will operate from Monday to Friday.
The students will be allocated a clinical educator and have protected learning time in which they have greater control of their education and are able to steer their learning based on what they feel they need to improve.

For the students, this SLCLE aims to provide them with a unique learning experience, enabling them to develop their confidence and leadership skills by learning together. This model will give all involved a better sense of belonging and value.

The ultimate aim is that students feel recognised and equipped for the transition into professional registration, and go on to choose to build their career at UHB.
Head of School at UHB, Ruth Pearce said: “The School’s ethos is to belong, grow and contribute. The purpose of the SLCLE is to create a dynamic, innovative and high quality learning environment for students and staff alike. The SLCLE focuses on student need around clinical competency development, underpinned with safe and efficient supervision to create a culture of excellence in education, leadership and pastoral support.”

This innovative project has been developed by UHB’s School of Nursing, AHPs and Midwifery, who have been working closely with their university partners to bring this project to life.

The Trust has recently secured a sum of money to support the development of three additional SLCLEs over the next eight months, with plans to open them within its other hospitals in different clinical settings.

2 minute spotlight - student experiences

In our "2 minute spotlight" video, students of our innovative new student-led clinical learning environment share some of their experiences.

So a typical day is, we have two shifts a morning and afternoon, and on both shifts we have a handover, which identifies the tasks that we need to do for the day.

We are closely supervised by registered nurses, and we have control over our patients with their direct supervision.

The difference between this and other placements is in this placement we get to work together as a team, we’ve become a close team with our colleagues. So we’ve got third years looking after second years, we really feel like a team.

I really enjoy working with other students from other universities and other year groups and we all get on really well and we support each other, we often go to each other first asking each other questions before we go to one of the nurses.

This placement gives me more chance to learn, empowerment to do things by myself with the guidance of the nurses around and my previous placement, I was shadowing my assessor. I have to go where my assessor is going and I have, my assessor is the one leading the care, but with this placement I am the one leading the care.

You have a lot more independence, that’s the big thing. You kind of, it’s not thrown into the deep end, because you still have a lot of support behind you. But you do need to kind of step up to the plate. You need to work independently. Obviously, you’ve got the other students by your side so you can chat to them if you have any concerns or questions, things like that.

But yeah, the big thing is that autonomy and you’re, you’re working as kind of the physio on the ward.

The benefits really, that do stand out, is the fact that you’re given more responsibility to do things on your own rather than always being told to do certain things and you just watch your registered nurse or a supervisor doing certain things so that is really something that stands out.

I’m ready for my third year. I will step in with caution of course. But like when you start it’s like you have someone behind you looking but with my third year I can step in showing my assessor my next assessor or the nurses like I know what I’m doing and I’m confident and I will never ever put my patient at risk. And in any doubt I can come to them but, I’m ready. I’m ready for my third year.

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