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NSFT first mental health trust in the country to pilot Dutch-style student nurse coaching
29/01/2015

Student nurses training in Norwich are paving the way for a new-style of mental health placement experience adopted from the Netherlands.

The University of East Anglia's student nurses who are on placement with Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust are the first in the country to experience a new approach to developing student skills that is based on a coaching model.

The pilot has been developed by Health Education East of England, UEA, and NHS Trusts in Norfolk. The coaching model has been used in Amsterdam since 2011 and has increased the quality and the capacity of nurse training.

The Amsterdam model has been piloted on Blickling and Sandringham wards at Norwich's Julian Hospital since November 2014. The pilot is being evaluated on an ongoing basis with feedback from staff and students.

The coaching model involves experienced nurses acting as supernumerary coaches to two to three students on each shift. At the end of every shift, coaches and students review what has been learned.

The students are coached through delivering hands-on patient care on the wards and learn to prioritise, delegate, and develop excellent communication skills.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Director of Nursing Dr Jane Sayer said:  "We are excited to be the first mental health Trust to pilot this model and look forward to working with the staff on Blickling and Sandringham wards and receiving the feedback and evaluation from staff and students."

The lessons from Amsterdam show that the approach:

  • increases placement capacity and the quality of the learning environment
  • having large numbers of students delivering patient care gives the registered nurse the opportunity to coach learners and promote skills acquisition
  • the students are better prepared for their professional role at the point of registration

Clinical educator Mark Randall is supporting staff and students in the implementation and evaluation of the model over both wards.

Kathy Branson, Director for Special Projects, Health Education East of England said:  "In order to learn to be excellent nurses, it is vital that students learn their practical and caring skills in an environment that supports and values education. I am delighted that NSFT is piloting this innovative approach to practice education, which has been shown to improve the quality of learning".

Charlene Lobo, Academic Lead for Practice Education at the University of East Anglia said "The UEA is delighted to be working so closely with NSFT. The model is still in development and therefore it is too early to predict the outcome but early evaluations are very promising indeed."‚Äč