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Exclusive: Student nurses hoping to bring some Christmas cheer to lonely patients

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Adult nursing students at Bangor University are giving up their spare time to ensure elderly hospital patients enjoy some Christmas cheer.

They have been collecting gifts to present to patients on rehabilitation wards at Wrexham’s Maelor Hospital to ensure “nobody is left out” during the season of goodwill.

“There were some people just sitting there with not even a Christmas card”

Ceri Davies

The scheme was the brainchild of second year adult nursing student Ceri Davies, who was on placement at the hospital during the festive season last year.

“There were patients who had no family and I felt like they were left out,” she told Nursing Times. “Some had family coming in and they were happy but there were some people just sitting there with not even a Christmas card. So this year I wanted to take presents in for everybody so nobody is left out.”

Together with coursemates Kate Topple and Fern Williams, she has launched an appeal for donated items including toiletries, playing cards, Christmas ornaments and colouring books for adults.

The campaign has been supported by their lecturer Angela Williams and many fellow students, as well as an Aldi supermarket that has just opened its doors next to the hospital. The gifts will be presented to patients on 16 December.

“I would like this to get bigger and bigger each year,” said Ms Davies. “If we start planning early, then hopefully we can get every ward done not just two or three.”

“I am passionate about it, because I think ‘this is someone else’s nana’”

Ceri Davies

At the same time, she is also organising Christmas boxes for children at a local homeless shelter with the help of her daughter’s primary school, having experienced homelessness herself in the past.

“I was homeless about seven years ago with my daughter and I know what it is like to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with no family around you at Christmas and money is short,” she said. “It’s not a nice thing, so I want to give something back to the people that are still there.”

She said it had been a difficult journey to get where she was today, having struggled at school and having also had a child at an early age.

“Since having my daughter and being in that situation, I wanted to better myself,” she said. “I am the kind of person who likes to give and is there for people, so it made sense to go into nursing.”

She went back to college and went on to embark on a nursing degree. “I love it,” she says. “It is the best thing I have ever done. Even though it is difficult, I wouldn’t change it, it’s worth it.”

“They are a credit to the nursing profession and are true Christmas stars”

Angela Williams

She was drawn to adult nursing, having been a carer for her grandmother, she added. “I am passionate about it, because I think ‘this is someone else’s nana’ and some people are really vulnerable so you need to give extra to make sure they are okay,” she said.

“Older people don’t tend to speak up so you need to have the skills to speak up for them sometimes,” said Ms Davies.

Ms Williams, a lecturer in adult nursing at Bangor, said it was a “fabulous project”, which had developed out of an initiative to distribute Christmas cards to patients who were in hospital last year.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Student nurses help to bring festive cheer to lonely patients

“This year some of the students wanted to carry on with the fabulous idea but do something slightly different,” she said.

She said the three students had been “central to this project developing momentum”, highlighting that the target was to fill and distribute 60 shoeboxes to the rehab wards at Maelor Hospital, which is run by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

“They have already collected 60 empty shoeboxes and have now started wrapping them,” she said. “Fellow students, friends, lecturers, student families have been busy donating gifts and the generosity from everyone has been tremendous.”

She added: “All the students are trying to do is to be kind and make a difference to patients who will be on the wards over Christmas. They are a credit to the nursing profession and are true Christmas stars.”

If you would like to support the appeal you can email Ms Davies at hbu6b0@bangor.ac.uk or via Twitter at @ceridavies133

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Student nurses help to bring festive cheer to lonely patients

Kate Topple, Fern Williams, Ceri Davies and Angela Williams

 

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Readers' comments (5)

  • Thank you to all students and staff involved you have all been fantastic

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  • Well done Ceri, Angela and Fern. That is truly kind-spirited of you.

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  • Inspirational!! Well done

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  • This is good to see student nurses getting back to basics caring for patients in their care.
    I remember my first Christmas working on an acute psychiatric ward (1987) and I spent my day caring for a young man with Huntington's disease, he never a easy person to help but that day he allowed me to bath him, he had new clothes to wear and he looked fab and I remember the head of nursing coming round to visit the ward on the Christmas day (yes managers were seen on everyday of the year then supporting staff) saying well done this is what nursing is all about

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  • Michelle Manners

    Well done. Inspirational to see.

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