“The experience might prove tough at times, but it’s giving me the opportunity to learn differently.”
Meet Alice, one of the students stepping up to help Solent NHS Trust care for our communities
In this unprecedented time of need, hundreds of trainee nurses, doctors, and other medical students are stepping in to help support the NHS and other key healthcare workers during this pandemic. Many of whom are choosing to work on extended placements ahead of qualifying and others are taking on volunteer work, offering their skills and enthusiasm to various roles and services.
We spoke to several students who joined us here at Solent, helping us to care for our communities across Hampshire. Today, we hear from Alice Lacey, a trainee District Nurse (DN) working with the Community Nursing team in Southampton. Alice tells us about her nursing journey and how she is managing her new role at the Trust under these challenging circumstances.
“From a young age I saw my mother’s nursing career flourish - watching the care and support she gave to her patients was inspiring. I hadn’t always planned to go to university, however after college I started work supporting vulnerable adults and I loved it, so I took the plunge and started my nursing degree.
“I’m in the final year of my three-year course. When I first found out that as third years, we were going to be put onto an extended placement to help the NHS during this pandemic, I was very apprehensive. I was going to be put in practice and still had so many unanswered questions. Where would I go? What would I be doing? Were the effects of COVID-19 on our NHS going to be as scary as they seemed in the news?
“I knew from my course that community nursing suited me best, so I was eager to get placed in a similar role, but of course, nothing was guaranteed. Luckily, over the following weeks we were informed that we could choose the Trust we would be placed with – I picked Solent without hesitation.
“The Trust is very encouraging, and it has a team spirit like no other. Nothing I ask my colleagues is too much trouble and they offer me so much support. I feel I can really achieve great things here. I’d also worked with the district nursing team before on a previous placement and had a job lined up with them when I am due to qualify as a registered nurse in September.
“In my first few weeks with the DN team I have been shadowing my colleagues to meet patients and find my feet. It’s been really rewarding, and it’s helping me build relationships with people, which is important. It’s very strange having to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to each patient visit, and it’s been a big change for the team too - it’s certainly not something I expected to experience so quickly. It can be quite tricky, and it gets quite warm in the PPE, but the safety of our patients and ourselves is the number one priority, so we keep going, delivering care to the people who need it.
“Even though this is a difficult time for all healthcare workers, I am grateful to have had the chance to sign up and offer my support not only to the NHS, but Solent as a Trust. The experience might prove tough at times, but it’s giving me the opportunity to grow and learn differently.”