The newest nursing students in Northampton have been given an extra special welcome by their peers to help them keep cool, calm and collected before they walk the wards.
Mental Health (MH) Nursing students took part in a Dragons’ Den style initiative to pitch ideas about the key items that should be included in a well-being goodie bag for the next cohort.
Their suggestions had to follow the University’s five well-being pledges that all nursing students abide by to make sure they are on top of their physical and mental health:
- To take a moment and think about their day
- Acknowledge one thing that was difficult during the day…and to let it go
- Consider one thing that went well
- Check on their friends before they leave for the day and to see that they are OK, too
- To then switch off, rest and recharge.
The final contents for the bags include chamomile tea to soothe and calm, post-it notes to jot down their thoughts, a rubbery ‘stress-man’ to fiddle with in times of anxiety, a timetable of mindfulness and well-being activities at the University for the next year and a handy pack of tissues if times get tough.
Accompanying this is a clinical skills bag – which includes a lapel watch, stethoscope and hand sanitiser – and a ‘nursing hacks’ ring-file that covers everything from how their course and the wider University works to improving their digital literacy, meaning Northampton nursing students are fully kitted out for classroom and ward work.
(Clockwise from top left): Well-being bag and contents, clinical skills bag contents and nursing student’s ‘uni hacks’ ring file.
Joe Lutwama was one of the students whose ideas are ‘in the bag’: “Starting my course in a new area away from my comfort zone in a cold February was not easy to deal with. What kept me going was the confidence that I am capable of achieving success as a nurse. No matter how hard the day was, I always believed things will get better so giving something back to help other new starters is the least I could do.”
Recently the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) – the UK regulator for the profession – has requested universities include in their undergraduate nursing curriculum information and support that encourages students to take responsibility for their own mental and physical health and well-being.
The physical and mental well-being of nursing students has been recognised as one factor in the high ‘attrition’ rate (students who quit their degrees before qualifying) for the subject.
A survey last year by the Nursing Standard and the Health Foundation found that one out of every four nursing students drops out of their degree.
To help tackle this, University of Northampton’s nursing team has implemented measures to make sure nursing students are ‘super supported’ from day one, leading to a reduction in attrition from 24%-10% over three years.
Aside from goodie bags when they start their degrees, these include students having an assigned personal practice tutor who supports them through their placements, following them in practice for three years.
The nursing team also hold workshops on emotional resilience and developing students’ personal and emotional skills and students in all four nursing fields complete compulsory Mental Health First Aid training. This means they are able to identify whether people they know and meet have an MH issue, how to broach the subject in a sensitive way and, if necessary, signpost them to the right support service, as well as having more insight into their own mental health.
Find out more about nursing at University of Northampton.