Penrith community hospital recently welcomed three German nursing students in to its services as part of a joint learning programme.
Through the English for Nurses programme, Hannah, Julius and Ann-Kathrin, were given the opportunity to experience the nursing world here in the UK and gain invaluable nursing experience in various departments within the hospital and in the community.
Ann Taylor, the ward manager at the hospital explained: “One of the most valuable things for the students is that they could see how ‘hands on’ our Nurses are in the UK; in Germany decisions on patient care are all Doctor led, whereas here Nurses play a huge role in this process. The students received a wealth of knowledge, and all of the departments and teams they worked with provided them with invaluable feedback to aid in their future success.”
The three German nurses experienced first-hand the Minor Injuries unit, went out on the Community, spent time in the Out-Patients department and on the Ward.
Ann made sure that they worked with a wide variety of people including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners; they got to see how each professional works, and what their role in the patient care journey is.
Julius said on his experience: “I have really enjoyed working here, it has been a great opportunity to be able to achieve this learning experience, and I have got to see several different units of the hospital and got a friendly welcome from everyone
I got to see how nursing works differently to Germany, and learnt a lot. I also enjoyed getting to see the area, doing different activities at the weekend including see the Lake District”
Ann-Kathrin also enjoyed her time at Penrith hospital, and said: “It was a big chance getting to see a hospital in England, and seeing a different system to Germany which works so well. Here you have different splits to us, in Germany there are mainly nurses and some health care assistants, where as you have other roles such as nurse practitioners
“I have really enjoyed my time here, it has gone too quickly! The staff have all had so much time for us, and I think it’s great that our countries can work together, and learn from one another.”
The team at the hospital have enjoyed the students being with them too, Ann explained: “We have thoroughly enjoyed having them here with us, Hannah who has left us was sad to leave – she wanted to stay! The students have loved it. We hope through these relationships we will be able to encourage more nurses from the continent to Cumbria once they have qualified.”
Hazel Fawcett, one of the Health Care Assistants who got to work with the students said: “We learn from the students as much as they learn from us, it will be sad when they leave – we will miss them all.”
Ann ensured that it wasn’t all work for the students, and gave them weekends off so they could explore Cumbria and spend time visiting surrounding Cities. She also organised a night out in a local pub for them with some of the Penrith Hospital staff as a fun ice breaker!
The programme has been a huge success, so much so that the German tutors are already looking to place two more students, and there are three more students planned to go to Workington and Kendal.
The placements last for six weeks, and involve a learning contract which identifies key objectives that are to be signed off by Ann as and when the pieces of work are completed. Hannah has completed her 6 week placement and returned to Germany at the weekend; however Julius and Ann-Kathrin are still completing their time at Penrith Hospital.