'Making a difference is empowering' - student nurse on fighting Covid
- Credit: Alex O'Shaughnessy/ESNEFT
A student nurse who volunteered to work on the Covid wards at Colchester Hospital during the pandemic has said it is a "great reward" to help improve people's lives.
Alex O’Shaughnessy is one of 111 healthcare students deployed into paid placements at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which manages Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, to help the NHS through the crisis.
The 20-year-old, who is in his final year of an adult nursing degree at the University of Essex, said he didn't hesitate when he had the chance to put his training into practice.
Mr O’Shaughnessy was placed on Colchester Hospital’s Acute Medical Same Day Emergency Care unit, where he has been working since the beginning of February.
He said: "Our skills are advanced enough in practice to be able to work now – and obviously we are overseen by a senior member of staff on every shift too.
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"I had to have a couple of surgeries as a kid, so hospitals were familiar to me. It’s always been my passion to want to be a nurse.
"Going to work and trying to improve someone’s life is a great reward. I genuinely love it. Knowing I’m making a bit of a difference is empowering."
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Therese Elliott, head of clinical education and workforce at ESNEFT, praised Mr O’Shaughnessy and others who have offered to help the trust throughout the pandemic.
She said: "As a third-year student, Alex has a greater level of experience and knowledge to support patients while also being able to continue to undertake his practice learning as a student.
"The trust has been overwhelmed by the support of those students who opted into the deployed paid placements.
"I am extremely proud of the way those students who were able to deploy, managed to continue with their learning whilst also being such a valuable asset in supporting not only our patients, but our teams.
"Although in the second wave only final year nursing students were called to support the workforce, we mustn’t forget all the other students from various nursing, midwifery and allied healthcare professions who were also deployed at the beginning of the pandemic."