A total of 28 third-year student nurses from partner universities, Northumbria University and the University of Sunderland, will be supporting the Trust’s nursing teams for 12 weeks.
The students have already been deployed across a range of clinical areas across the Trust and will be caring for patients at South Tyneside District Hospital,Sunderland Royal Hospital and the Trust’s community services.
One of the new student nurses is Jenna Bradwell who has already gained full-time employment at the Trust once she qualifies.
Jenna, from South Shields, said: “I’ve been very lucky with my placements, the Trust has provided me with the most enjoyable learning opportunities and the team I am currently working alongside has been so supportive.
“Working during the pandemic has brought many challenges and changes to the way we work. I feel that the biggest change has been adapting to communicating with patients when wearing PPE.
“Some of our patients can struggle to hear what we are saying and wearing a mask can make verbal communication somewhat more difficult as our mouths are fully covered.
“Good communication is such an important part of the care we provide and I’ve found myself being as expressive as possible behind the mask to aid that.
“More positively, I have never experienced more unity than that of the teams I have been part of since this began – it really has brought us closer together.
“I’m so pleased to have secured a Staff Nurse position within the Trust and I hope that I can remain on the Surgical Centre Inpatient ward, where I can start what I hope is a long and rewarding career.”
Melanie Johnson, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals, said: “We are delighted to welcome our new recruits to South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust and are extremely grateful for their support.
“They will certainly be a welcome boost to our nursing team and will be vital in helping provide safe and high-quality care to our patients as well as supporting our staff during these challenging times.
“The deployment of our student nurses has involved an incredible amount of work from the team and I’d like to thank everyone for their hard work and continued support.”
The Government and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has recognised that the country is facing an unprecedented situation and therefore the NMC has re-introduced a set of emergency standards.
It enables final year students to undertake up to 100 per cent of their clinical time in practice.
The final year students that have chosen to undertake extended clinical placements will still be treated as students working 80 per cent of their week in clinical practice.
Dr Guy Tucker, Head of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals Education at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “All students across Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions have worked extremely hard during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Our students have risen to this challenge and have been a vital support to our nursing teams during this challenging time and as we start on the road to recovery.
“They are performing very well indeed and I would like to thank all of our students and their mentors and practice assessors/supervisors for their dedication and continued.”