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Northumbria elderly nursing internship programme bags national award

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Northumbria's Integrated Health and Social Care Internship programme helps get students into elderly nursing care.

Northumbria University has long been a proud home or top-quality nursing programmes. But their latest nursing internship offering, aimed at getting graduates into elderly care and nursing homes, has been recognised for its sterling work.

The university’s Integrated Health and Social Care Internship programme picked up a Cavell Nursing Star Award at the Care Home Matters Conference on Monday. The course founders were recognised for the curriculum’s unique approach of giving students valuable hands-on experience in an often undervalued – and yet highly needed – area of care.

The course is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, being derived from an American model by Northumbria Senior Lecturers Dr Juliana Thompson and Sue Tiplady. Both were recipients of the award, along with care home nurse Julia Stephens who mentored on the course, and Professor Glenda Cook, Professor of Nursing.

nursing internship
The university’s Integrated Health and Social Care Internship programme is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK. Source: larry mcguirk / Shutterstock

The team’s work was brought to the attention of the award panel by graduate of the programme, Jemma James, who had a successful and gratifying experience while studying.

While on the internship programme, James worked nursing a patient who required significant support for his mental, physical and social health. Through her efforts and the help of the team around her, she managed to support him to return to independent living where he had been for a year.

“Nursing older people, in particular in a care home, can be seen as the ‘Cinderella service’. People don’t think it is skilled, but actually it’s the opposite case,” James told the Northumbria Newsroom.

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“I have loved it and hope to return to it along with working on a ward, it is challenging, fantastic and offers brilliant opportunities.”

According to the university, other colleges are looking at implementing a similar model given the success of Northumbria’s scheme. The intern role involves working in care homes with specialist healthcare professionals such as dementia and Admiral nurses, and with policymakers to experience the wider health and social care system and how it impacts on the care of older people.

nursing internship
According to the university, other colleges are looking at implementing a similar model given the success of Northumbria’s scheme. Source: larry mcguirk / Shutterstock

“The model has been successful due to the commitment and collaboration of a number of health and social care organisations including care homes, clinical commissioning groups, the wider NHS and the voluntary sector,” said course leader and award recipient Dr Thompson.

“This has led to a ‘joined up’ education experience for the interns – they get to understand the whole health and social care journey for older people, which helps them to deliver person-centred, individualised care.”