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Dr Imogen Webb on the ward

Supporting the next generation of healthcare workers

12 October 2023

Helping to train the next generation of healthcare professionals is a key objective for your hospice. 

The dedicated group of staff who care for and support local patients and their families is the biggest asset we have, so helping them to thrive and have the opportunity add to their skillset is something we place great importance on. 

As well as helping to support the wider healthcare network, those who are currently students are potentially the hospice’s future workforce and we’ve also been ensuring current staff can continue to train and increase their skillset. 

In the last year, the hospice has supported 2,582 hours of training and worked with 67 students from a range of disciplines including adult nursing and children’s nursing, social work and counselling, medical students and GP registrars. 

Supporting students and trainees doesn’t just help those who are studying, it plays a vital role in ensuring patient care at the hospice is as good as it can be. 

“It benefits patients too, if a trainee has a good experience, they will take that learning to other places they go on to work,” said Jenny Wilson, the hospice’s deputy CEO and director of clinical services. 

“We also learn from students; they all ask questions and it makes us think about why we’re doing something or how we’re doing it. They bring ideas from other areas and other places they’ve been to whilst training. They also improve governance as someone from the outside is scrutinising the care we’re offering.” 

Just like many other hospices and healthcare settings across the country, there are and will continue to be challenges around staffing. Nationally, there are 112,000 vacancies within the NHS and in the recently published Long Term Workforce Plan three focus areas were identified – train, retain and reform. 

The hospice is proud to play its role in training and helping to retain high quality healthcare staff and places great significance on growing our own, recently supporting the development of six nursing associates and two registered adult nurses.  

Jenny added: “Investing in staff improves morale and having development opportunities shows they are valued. It also helps keep us up to date with the latest information and techniques. 

“We aim for a welcoming approach; no question is a stupid question, and we want to make people feel supported. As well as providing a practical opportunity for people we also provide the right level of supervision for them. We really care about the experience we offer to students. 

“We’re also a unique setting as students can get experience within paediatrics and adult care all under one roof.” 

Dr Imogen Webb has spent several months with the hospice whist she completes are training to become a GP. 

She said: “I’ve really enjoyed my time here; I’ve learned a lot that I will be able to take with me when I work as a GP. I’m planning to stay in Cumbria to work so it’s been really useful to learn about the different local services and what is out there which will benefit the patients I work with in the future. 

“It has also been good to build connections with the medical team here at the hospice as we will likely be working together at some point in the future.” 

Kate Arkwright, an adult nursing student at the University of Cumbria, is going into her third year of studying and had been with your hospice on a 12-week placement. 

She said: “I’ve learned a lot about palliative care. I came in here a bit scared about how to talk to families of patients who are dying, how to talk to people who are seriously ill but I’ve had so much support and so much knowledge passed on to me, I feel as though I’m a lot more confident with things now. I’ve learned so much. 

Not sure what she wants to do… “but I think this has been my favourite placement and I was surprised at how much I liked end-of-life care so it’s a possibility I might do something with that.”” 

“I’ve had some specific training here and everything I’ve needed to know; I’ve asked the staff and everyone has been really knowledgeable. The healthcares, the nurses and the doctors, everyone has been really supportive.” 

“It’s very hard working in this environment every day because it is end of life care, but the level of support that they give the staff and students is amazing. They give you time to reflect on what’s happened, it enables you to reflect and move on rather than rushing on to the next thing.” 

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