Young people from the Army Cadet Force in Angus and Dundee were given the opportunity to explore careers in healthcare with NHS Tayside as part of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Prince of Wales Nursing Cadet Scheme in Scotland.
NHS Tayside recently supported the RCN Cadet scheme, which gives 16-25-year-old members of youth organisations an introduction to potential careers in nursing and health and social care. The Tayside programme was one of the first RCN nursing cadet schemes taking place in Scotland.
Seven participants - Lyra Dye, Shirley-Anne Leslie, Matthew Mitchell, Phoenix Ross, Breannan Stewart, Kyle Whitton and Callum Wilson - took part in a range of observational placements across NHS Tayside to gain a valuable insight into the world of healthcare.
Several of the young people who took part in the placements, which took place over a two-week period in April, have said they would now consider a career in healthcare.
Army Cadet Force (ACF) nursing cadet Breannan Stewart, who was based at Ward 25 in Ninewells Hospital, which specialises in ophthalmology, said, “On my first day, I was nervous, but I was very quickly welcomed by the ward team. Being on placement has boosted my confidence and I have gained many new skills. This opportunity has given me the determination to pursue a career in nursing.”
Charge nurse Debbie Laing said the team on Ward 25 were delighted to be asked to be involved in the nursing cadet pilot. She said, “It has been a pleasure having Breannan working with the team on Ward 25 and she has been a credit to the Army Cadet Force and the RCN.
Whilst on placement, Breannan’s communication skills increased and she grew in confidence. Breannan learned many new transferable skills that can be used to further a career in nursing.”
ACF nursing cadet Lyra Dye was based at the Learning Disability Assessment Unit (LDAU) at Carseview Centre, Dundee. She said, “It felt like being part of a big team. I learned a lot that I could not have learned from textbooks. I feel inspired to pursue a possible career in Learning Disability services.”
Graeme Devine, Senior Charge Nurse, said that Lyra had settled in well to her experience on the ward. He said, “It’s always great to be involved in a new initiative that could possibly provide Learning Disability nurses of the future.
“Lyra very quickly demonstrated an understanding of the people we care for. The LDAU team were impressed with Lyra, she is a credit to herself and the organisations she represents.”
A number of wards and departments provided the placements, including:
• Learning Disability Assessment Unit at Carseview Centre, Dundee
• Theatres, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee
• Ward 12 (General Surgery), Ninewells Hospital, Dundee
• Ward 25 (Ophthalmology), Ninewells Hospital, Dundee
• Ward 26 (Ear, Nose and Throat), Ninewells Hospital, Dundee
• Outpatient Department, Arbroath Infirmary
• Clova/Isla Wards, Whitehills Health and Community Care Centre, Forfar
Joan Laing, Employability Lead for NHS Tayside, said, “I would like to thank all the placement providers, mentors and staff for taking part in this new and exciting pilot and for giving the nursing cadets a great opportunity to gain work experience. The wards and departments involved in the pilot should be highlighted for all the support, hard work and effort that was put into to looking after the cadets whilst on placement.”
Colonel Scott Dunn, Commandant of Angus & Dundee Battalion, Army Cadet Force said he was grateful for the support that NHS Tayside has given to those taking part in the scheme.
“I would like to thank all those in the clinical areas who have spent time with the cadets ensuring that their experiences of careers in healthcare have been positive,” he added. “Feedback from the young people has been very positive and they are very grateful for the opportunities NHS Tayside has given them.”
Professor Dave Clarke, Head of the RCN Prince of Wales nursing cadet scheme, said, “We have been very excited to launch the nursing cadet scheme in Scotland and our thanks to Angus & Dundee Battalion and NHS Tayside for their partnership over the last year to make this happen. The young people involved have had a tremendously positive experience and we look forward to expanding our presence in Scotland.”