A PROJECT to help school pupils in rural Scotland move into nursing careers has won a top award.
The Pre-Nursing Scholarship programme - developed by the University of Stirling's School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, in partnership with NHS boards and local education authorities - gives youngsters the chance to try out nursing roles and develop their employability skills.
The programme - just finishing the first year of a two-year trial – has been honoured in the Scottish Education Awards 2013. It took the prize in the Enterprise and Employability Across Learning Award (Secondary) category.
Schools in Western Isles taking part have included Castlebay Community School on the isle of Barra and Sgoil Lionacleit on Benbecula. Schools in the Highland region have included Gairloch High, Grantown Grammar, Invergordon Academy, Mallaig High and Portree High.
The Scholarship programme includes:
a residential week, incorporating aspects of health and social care and experience of “simulated practice”;
an SQA Skills for Work course; and
a work experience week, in a local health care setting.
Youngsters are teamed up with final year nursing students from the University and are supported throughout by academic and NHS staff.
Pupils “graduate” with an SQA qualification. They also improve their chances of gaining a University place to study nursing.
Professor William Lauder, the Head of University’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, said: “We are delighted that our partnership has been recognised with the award. Our vision for nursing in remote and rural areas enhances nurse education through collaboration.
“The programme led by the University encourages innovation and collaboration in the planning, delivery and evaluation of teaching and learning, supporting the optimum student experience. We anticipate that the pupils on the programme have had their interest in nursing careers confirmed and look forward to welcoming them to the degree programme at our Highland and Western Isles Campuses in years to come.”
Programme Teaching Fellow Michael MacPhee - based at the University’s Western Isles Campus - said: “The Pre-Nursing Scholarship Programme is an excellent vehicle for partnership working to enhance the experiences that young people can have before commencing a programme of study leading to a career in nursing. It provides an immersive learning experience for young people who are thinking of pursuing a career in healthcare.”
The Pre-Nursing Scholarship Programme was designed by the University of Stirling and developed in conjunction NHS Highland and NHS Western Isles and Highland Council and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council). Funding for the project was provided by NHS Education for Scotland.
Mike Sabin from NHS Education for Scotland said: “Our support for this programme recognised the key contribution that an experience such as this can have in shaping subsequent career choices in healthcare and we are extremely pleased that the programme has been recognised for its innovation and strong partnership working.
“This programme supports a key part of our wider programme of work to enhance recruitment and selection to healthcare programmes and subsequent careers.”
The University’s award-winning School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health provides nursing education across Scotland from campuses at Stirling, Highland (Inverness) and the Western Isles (Stornoway). It enrols around 300 undergraduate students each year.