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COVID19 – Serving the community in a crisis

The University has taken an active role during the pandemic in many ways. From students and staff going on the frontline to help the health service, starting their own charity and fundraising initiatives and the opening up of vacant student halls to house healthcare professionals. Here is our round up just some of what has been happening, with a big thank you from all of us to all of them.

Students from across the Faculty of Health, Education and Society stepped up when the Government issued a call for nursing, midwifery, occupational therapy and paramedic science students to provide extra people hours to help the NHS.

A total of 273 Nursing (all four fields), 37 Midwifery, 40 Occupational Therapy and 45 Paramedic Science (BSc and Foundation) students did this during lockdown.

One of those was Adult Nursing’s Hannah Shaw who said: “My family is definitely proud of me, but also nervous because I am on the frontline, exposing myself to the virus more than I would have done if I was staying at home.

“The University is also so proud of us all, whether we opted in or out of a placement. There’s a real sense of pride and a feeling of togetherness, which is a nice thing to have come out of this situation.”

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University students continued giving English lessons during the lockdown, helping young refugees and asylum seekers in Northampton to continue learning the language.

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Paramedic Science students Felicity Hubbard and Anna Leitch became ‘Technicians receiving payment’ during lockdown and spoke about their experiences.

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The University’s Podiatry Clinic’s doors are open again for general appointments, but part of the team remained on-call for patients during lockdown They either gave advice remotely or came into the clinic to provide direct care to those deemed at high risk of developing more serious complications and who required urgent treatment. During this time, they gave advice to or directly saw over 250 patients.

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Masters in Business Administration (MBA) student Farsana Kodavandi put her critical thinking and research skills to good use, working for the NHS Test and Trace service. She said:

“When I saw the contact tracer role, I was determined to get the job, so that I could have the opportunity to do my part, serve the community, and help people to stay safe. Covid-19 has taught us to stay united and to put other’s lives and safety first before our own.”

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Our Director of Student & Academic Services Kathryn Kendon praised the on-campus teams that have been looking out for students who are living in halls.

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Molecular Bioscience lecturer David Young juggled daily lecturing duties and his own research with volunteering to support local hospital colleagues tackling the pandemic. He gave his spare time to support Northampton General Hospital’s (NGH) testing of Covid-19 samples.

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Occupational Therapy student Andy Jay combined his former life as a telecoms engineer with his passion for using OT to support people and created a telehealth helpline.

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Kind hearted criminology student Ben Eva donated £450 worth of food vouchers to help support fellow students in need.

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University staff members Nick Allen and Becky Bradshaw found time in their busier than ever schedules to join the ranks of the NHS ‘volunteer army’ to support their communities.

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Lastly, but by no means least, a big thank you to the University’s Dr Steve O’Brien. Every Tuesday morning during the crisis, he was the county’s voice of calm and reason with his informed, balanced and never alarmist coronavirus updates with BBC Radio Northampton’s Annabel Amos.

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