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Norfolk and Suffolk trust pilots Dutch-style student nurse coaching


Student nurses at the University of East Anglia are piloting a new style of mental health placement adopted from The Netherlands, which sees them coached by nurses brought in to focus specifically on their training.

UEA’s students who are on placement with Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust are the first in the country to develop new skills based on the Dutch coaching model.

The model involves experienced nurses acting as supernumerary coaches to two to three students a shift.

Students are coached through delivering hands-on care on the two wards where this is being piloted, and learn how to prioritise, delegate and develop communication skills. At the end of each shift, both coaches and students review what has been learned.

“It is vital that students learn their practical and caring skills in an environment that supports and values education”

Health Education East of England

The pilot has been developed by the university, Health Education East of England and trusts in Norfolk, and has been piloted since November 2014.

It will be evaluated based on ongoing feedback from staff and students.

In The Netherlands, the approach has been used since 2011 and has been proven to increase the placement capacity and quality of the learning environment.

It has also provided the registered nurse the opportunity to coach learners and promote skills acquisition.

Those behind the scheme say students are better prepared for their professional role at the point of registration.

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.”


Readers' comments (3)

  • How can this fail? One 'supernumerary' experienced nurse for every two or three students on the ward. Great for the ward, great for the students and great for the nurse who has chosen her role. Unfortunately I cannot see it being adopted by many universities because of the costs involved. However if it stems the drop out rate to the benefit of the educational establishments there might just be a chance.......

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  • It's a brilliant idea. Sadly, it's often supernumerary until the wards are short staffed. I only hope it's not something that is tried and is successful, only to be abandoned. In 41 years, I've seen that happen so often.

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  • As a current student nurse I think this approach would benefit everyone. Often because of lack of resources, students are left in a position where it is difficult to get all skills signed off. Additionally, those signing off the skills have variable expectations. This seems to be more of a consistent and supportive approach for the student and Trust. Wish it were happening where I am!

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