nurse training 180x120Student nurses training in Norwich are piloting a new style of mental health placement experience adopted from the Netherlands.

The University of East Anglia’s (UEA) student nurses who are on placement with Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) are the first in the country to experience a new approach to developing student skills that is based on a coaching model.

The pilot has been developed by Health Education East of England, UEA, and NHS Trusts in Norfolk. The coaching model has been used in Amsterdam since 2011 and has increased the quality and the capacity of nurse training.

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.”

The Amsterdam model has been piloted on Blickling and Sandringham wards at Norwich’s Julian Hospital since November 2014. The pilot is being evaluated on an ongoing basis with feedback from staff and students.

The coaching model involves experienced nurses acting as supernumerary coaches to 2-3 students on each shift. At the end of every shift, coaches and students review what has been learned.

The students are coached through delivering hands-on patient care on the wards and learn to prioritise, delegate, and develop excellent communication skills. The lessons from Amsterdam show that the approach:
• Increases placement capacity and the quality of the learning environment
• Having large numbers of students delivering patient care gives the registered nurse the opportunity to coach learners and promote skills acquisition
• The students are better prepared for their professional role at the point of registration. 

Charlene Lobo, academic lead for practice education at the University of East Anglia, added: “The UEA is delighted to be working so closely with NSFT. The model is still in development and therefore it is too early to predict the outcome but early evaluations are very promising indeed.”