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Dream Placement inspires students to join Cumbria’s NHS

Ten Cumbrian sixth formers, who aspire to be doctors, nurses, project managers, mental health professionals and dentists, have all been ‘truly amazed’ to see the NHS values in actions as they spent a week on a Dream Placement with Cumbria’s NHS.

The students were able to spend time with a huge array of NHS professionals including alongside patients, in laboratories and even in executive director meetings. They presented what they had done in their week to senior managers.

Jenny Farish gave an inspiring account of how she felt that in every department she visited she saw the NHS values come to life. She said:

“The first value, working together for patients, well, it struck me in the cardiac theatre how all of the different people had to work together for that patient. It didn’t matter if you were the most senior person ion the room, there was no ‘rank’ they were there for the patient, and I have seen this everywhere in all departments from that theatre to the recruitment team. The NHS is one team.

“Respect and dignity – a French lady came in for some surgery and the translator let them down – one of the nurses mentioned that she did A level French and did the translations – I was blown away!

“I have seen that patients always come first and everyone said how rewarding the jobs were, I was told: ‘There’s no greater feeling than seeing a patient smile and say thank you.’”

One of the students Jasmine Metherell  who wants to go into mental health said: “This whole experience has made me even more sure of what I want to do and cemented my career plans; it has also made me understand how the NHS is one big team, it’s so much more than what you see.”

Anya Coulthard explained how she had learned about technology in the NHS. She said: “I got to meet loads of different staff and see so many different things, including shadowing a team at the Cardiac Centre in Kendal.  I thought this was amazing because I would like to become a surgeon and specialise in Cardiology. The technology that is used is incredible, ECG machine, oxygen monitor, live x-ray and pacemakers themselves are the stuff of wonder!”

Between the Royal Lancaster infirmary and the Westmorland general she also visited the radiography department, ENT department, blood science labs and the orthopaedics departments.

Agata Kobylnik explained how she learned so much about what goes on behind the scenes: “The highlight of my week was the Minor Injuries Unit in Penrith. Just the huge array of issues they deal with was incredible; it was really good spending time with real patents talking about real issues. I also got to speak to the sexual heath team which was very interesting as this is something that few people talk about.”

Jamie-Lea Wright, wants to be a mental health nurse and she spent time across a range of mental health units and teams in Carlisle. She said: “I learned so much not least that you can achieve loads if you put your mind to it, one of the ward managers worked her way up from a cleaner. I also spent time with an Occupational therapist; I had no idea what they did or how they help mental health patients. It was really interesting how the whole team works.”

Theo Tindall visited the dental centre at the Cumberland infirmary, the aspiring dentist said: “I was able to observe Newcastle university students simulating a range of procedures and I was able to have a go as well – on a dummy not a human! The hands on experience was really good. Also speaking to the deputy director of HR she explained how she used to be a podiatrist so you really can go anywhere in the NHS.”

Jenny Linsley hopes to be a doctor and visited a range of service in the Cumberland infirmary.

She said: “In the coronary care unit’s lab we got to see a blockage that even the doctors had never seen before, they said they were going to write a professional paper on it – it was so interesting.”

Kate North, head of Workforce Futures and Inclusion said: “We really enjoy hosting the students for the dream placement each year. As well as being able to inspire them to join the NHS in Cumbria and show them the incredible work we do, they also ask us refreshing questions that can start interesting debates, we learn a lot from them too! It is a great scheme led by the Centre for Leadership Performance enabling students to gain an insight into all areas of the NHS, not just the parts they are interested in to help develop their future careers.”

Jayne Edwards – Head of Learning and Development at North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust said: “This scheme is an excellent chance for local young people to gain an greater awareness and understanding of the wide variety of roles available within the NHS and to gain an insight into the kinds of skills and experience needed to follow a chosen career path.  It offers an invaluable ‘behind the scenes’ opportunity to meet and work with staff at all levels and for the Trust to promote the range of job opportunities available in our local area.”

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