Lincolnshire’s mental health, learning disability and autism NHS trust is thrilled to be welcoming 25 mental health nurses after they gained their qualifications during one of the most challenging times in the history of the NHS.
The new recruits faced unprecedented disruption to their nursing studies during the COVID-19 pandemic, but showed incredible resilience to successfully come through their training.
Many of the new nurses completed their clinical placements with Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LPFT) throughout their training and will now begin their preceptorship training in a variety of inpatient and community mental health settings.
Eighteen will take up roles within the adult inpatient wards, four will join the specialist services which include children and young people services, and learning disabilities, two will go into older adult care and one will join the community mental health team.
Of the 25 recruits, 20 have completed their training through traditional university routes, with the remaining five being existing staff who were granted opportunities to retrain as registered mental health nurses with LPFT and the University of Lincoln. This enabled staff to obtain a BSc Mental Health Nursing degree with all tuition fees covered as part of the Trust’s commitment to providing pathways for progression and development.
One of the recruits joining the inpatient team on The Wolds in Lincoln is Scott Barratt. Mr Barratt had worked as a healthcare support worker for the Trust since 2013, but was granted the opportunity to complete his nursing training.
Scott Barratt, who is now a qualified staff nurse, said: “Due to being slightly older and having more financial responsibilities, the chance to study to become a registered mental health nurse through LPFT was the opportunity of a lifetime for me.
“Training during the pandemic brought challenges that students and tutors have never experienced before. However, I now feel more resilient than ever and can’t wait to get started in my new role as a staff nurse.
“I am now really looking forward to continue growing in my career as I make the transition from a student to a confident and accountable practitioner, while playing a vital role in delivering high quality patient care.”
As with all education settings, student nurses also had their learning and clinical placements disrupted during the pandemic and additional measures had to be put in place to help them qualify in time.
To assist, LPFT expanded their clinical placements by 17% on the previous year, allowing an additional 9,300 hours for students who needed to ‘catch up’ on their Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) requirements to qualify. This increase enabled final year aspiring nurses to complete their training in line with their original end dates.
Marc Benson, a newly qualified staff nurse, was halfway through his first clinical placement of his second year of study when the lockdown restrictions were first imposed.
“There was a lot of ambiguity around whether we would get to stay on our placements,” he said.
“We ended up finishing two weeks early, and also missed our elective summer placements, while we had to complete a lot of extra learning online at home.
“In spite of the massive challenge, I ended up having a great experience thanks to the excellent communication from LPFT and the University of Lincoln, and LPFT expanding their placement programme for our final year.”
Dr Sophia Hunt, Associate Professor and Lead for Practice, at the University of Lincoln, said: “At the University of Lincoln we are proud of the achievements of all our students; however the last 18 months have been exceptionally challenging for students studying a healthcare profession.
“Their courage and commitment to providing high quality nursing care is inspiring, and we are very pleased this group of newly qualified nurses will be starting their careers in Lincolnshire. We wish them every success in their new roles with LPFT.”
Kerry Woodcock, Lead Nurse for Safe Staffing and Professional Development, added: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome all our newly qualified nurses to the Trust over the coming weeks. They’ve all worked so hard to achieve their degree and NMC membership under very difficult circumstances.
“Each and every one should be applauded for their resilience and commitment to their chosen profession and despite the challenges they’ve faced, they’ve achieved their goals and been awarded their degree.
“We look forward to working with them all and getting to know them throughout the preceptorship period which we know is going to be key to their early experience at LPFT.”
Now is a really exciting time to join the NHS. To find out more about the opportunities currently available within LPFT, please visit www.lpft.nhs.uk/work-for-us