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STUDENT BLOG

Comment 'Let's 'Powwow' our way to a vital culture change'

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As a student nurse we all have passions that drive us and there is always that one subject we discover that gets us chomping at the bit. Mine is health inequalities - to be more specific, the inequalities that people with learning disabilities face

For a student nurse studying the adult field of nursing, this may prove puzzling. However, my journey to becoming a student nurse began by being a part of a small team who supported a young man with an acquired brain injury. He was non-verbal, so I learnt pretty fast how to approach and be comfortable caring for someone with complex needs.

In my experience as a student nurse, inequality is rife within acute settings; the current culture leads us to believe that the carers are there to for fill the basic care needs for the patient. This includes assisting with washing, feeding and just holding a general conversation with the patient.

I cannot speak for everyone but I think these aspects of care are a big part of building a quality relationship with your patient. If you’re passing this on to the carers, how can you build that connection?

“Inequality is rife within acute settings as the current culture leads us to believe that the carers are there to for fill the basic care needs for the patient.”

Through my university I’ve been lucky enough to become a part of the Student Quality Ambassador programme through which I’ve met passionate, inspirational students, such as Amy Wixey and Ellen Bassett, both learning disability nurses and Lindsey Boyd, a fellow adult student nurse.

“We decided to do something to encourage a change in culture, to ensure all patients with learning disabilities are treated the same as Joe Bloggs in bed six.”

As all students do, when together we discuss our gripes and our passions and we quickly realised we all have the same one in common. We decided to do something to encourage a change in culture, to ensure all patients with learning disabilities are treated the same as Joe Bloggs in bed six.

“I’ve been lucky enough to become a part of the Student Quality Ambassador programme through which I’ve met passionate, inspirational students.”

Powwow is a student taught interactive session to be delivered to pre-reg nursing students prior to practice placement with the aim to empower students across all fields of nursing. The session will focus on confidence building and dispelling common myths surrounding care delivery in the acute setting.

After completing the Powwow session the students will be given a pocket-sized communication guide which will contain pictorials, such as food, drink, toilet and shower to help fulfil basic care needs. The communication guide will also contain top tips to assist in effective communication. Alongside the communication guide, students will also be given a pin badge  to add to their lanyards to show people they’ve attended a Powwow session.

We’re hoping that after delivering our session for six months, carers and patients will start to recognise the logo and as a result feel comforted by the fact their caregiver is demonstrably passionate about equality for all in care.

“These aspects of care are a big part of building a quality relationship with your patient. If you’re passing this on to the carers, how can you build that connection?”

We aim to have our session completed soon, with our communication guides and pin badges in production and due to be ready for the initial launch of the session. Once our research proposal has been agreed by our University’s ethics committee we will conduct research around the session to analyse its effectiveness with the aim to produce evidence for journal submission.

In the meantime, please follow the project on Twitter @PowwowNurses to keep up to date with our progression and raise awareness of the session in order to highlight the importance of a change in culture.

Amiee Fullwood is a current adult student nurse at University of Chester.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • what a lovely idea. best of luck.

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  • rebecca wallett

    As student nursing times editor for learning disability nursing I cant wait to hear more about this! please get in contact with me on the progress of this!
    hope all goes well.
    Rebecca :)

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