Three savvy, Sheffield Hallam students are helping shape services for patients through their Learning Disability Nursing and Generic Social Work degrees.
Third-year students, Danielle Housley, Zoe Gardener and Charlotte Simpson, are on placement at The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, working alongside Lead Learning Disabilities Nurse, Jennifer Turedi and Transfer of Care Team Manager, Lee Moran. By combining their nursing degree with Learning Disability and Social Work elements, the students are gaining a wide understanding of what is available to support patients with a complex need.
A complex need could range from a Learning Disability to an existing health condition or a need for some kind of social support and the skills and knowledge the threesome has gained so far is going a long way in helping to offer an enhanced, more holistic patient experience, as Zoe explains: “Just last week I was able to help a patient by recognising they may be able to claim a benefit. This patient was otherwise unknown to services locally and I had recently learnt about benefits as part of my studies so I could put two and two together. Benefits isn’t something you’d usually learn about doing a general nursing degree.”
Danielle said: “Our role gives us the knowledge and time to spend with patients and their families so that we can look at what else we can do to make sure they continue to recover and live well outside of hospital.”
Jennifer added: “We’re constantly in touch with our colleagues in the community and agencies such as RDaSH’s Community Learning Disability Teams and ‘Speak Up’ advocacy group for people with Learning disabilities and Autism, to make sure patients feel supported and our students have grasped and ran with this. They are proving instrumental in helping to create individualised care plans alongside our partners, patients and their families.
“I love working with students as they bring such enthusiasm, a fresh pair of eyes and a new perspective – which we are embracing!”
This year is the first time that Jennifer and Lee have supported third-year Sheffield Hallam University students by providing close mentorship as part of their degree. Jennifer and Lee were keen to support the placements as they had noticed a gap for patients requiring extra support; a gap which is now much smaller thanks to the hard work and dedication Danielle, Zoe and Charlotte have shown.
Lee added: “The Care Act suggests that by 2020 health and social care services should be integrated and this placement is helping us to do this – we’re ahead of the game.”