A formal partnership between a Preston university and hospice is helping students gain experience in the care sector.Advertisement
The University of Central Lancashire has seen 50 students working on placement at St Catherine’s Hospice in Lostock Hall to experience end of life care training.
It was the first step in a memorandum of understanding between UCLan and St Catherine’s which will see staff, students, researchers and lecturers working on projects.
One of the students to take part in the pilot project was Georgia Oliphant who has now secured a full-time post at the hospice.
The 24-year-old from Penwortham said: “I was really interested in palliative care and was keen to learn on the job, so it was the perfect balance of working and studying.
“The inpatient team is amazing; they’re very encouraging and nurturing, and I love the environment. You have time to get to know patients and families, and it’s very rewarding to provide such holistic, personalised care.
“I feel really fortunate to have trained with St Catherine’s. I’ve also developed communication skills and gained the confidence to have sensitive conversations with patients and their families.”
The university is now planning to develop short courses dedicated to palliative care and also getting business students working on digital marketing projects for the hospice.
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UCLan’s deputy vice-chancellor Dr Lynne Livesey said: “The first year of our partnership has been a great success. It’s allowing our students to gain vital work experience and develop their employability skills, as well as bringing new ideas and research into St Catherine’s. Together we are making a big difference to the lives of the local people that we serve.”
Director of knowledge exchange services at St Catherine’s Lynn Kelly said: “The partnership enables us to share best practice and teach students about the importance of treating and caring for the individual; taking time to understand and respect each patient’s personal end-of-life wishes with regards to their care plans; where they would prefer to spend their final days; and how they hope to be remembered.
“It’s also about encouraging internships and volunteering; working together on research projects; and submitting joint funding bids for new initiatives, all with the aim of helping people to have quality of life to the end of life.
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“Future plans include developing creative ideas with the university’s school of medicine such as a new physician associate role that will combine specialist medical and nursing expertise.
“We are also looking at new and exciting ways to help people to have mutual support at the end of life in similar ways to those that parents and babies at the beginning of life find so supportive.”