'Nurses are the biggest workforce in the NHS and they deserve and need to be made a fuss of!'

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Date: 17th May 2019

‘We are the NHS backbone, we are what holds it all together’ – that was the message from Yvonne Coghill CBE OBE, as she spoke at Bucks New University’s International Nurses’ Day celebration.

Staff, guests, students and alumni gathered on Wednesday (15 May) to mark the hard work of nurses and also the University’s proud history of training nurses and health carers.

Yvonne, NHS England's Director of Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) Implementation, received an Honorary Doctorate from Bucks last year for her outstanding contribution to race equality and diversity and her inspirational leadership.

She said at Wednesday’s event: “International Nurses Day is really important for lots of reasons, not least because nurses are the biggest workforce in the NHS. Nurses deserve and need to be made a fuss of and they need to be valued and appreciated.

“When I look at the training and development of our nurses now, it is a stark contrast from when I was trained. Now trainee nurses collect data, research, evaluate and have so much knowledge, all of which they apply to their practice on the wards to make things better for patients. Now nurses are at degree level it means patients get much better evidence-based care and the nurses themselves become very professional and are well-respected by everybody.”

The celebratory event was held at Bucks New University’s Uxbridge Campus which is home to mock wards and simulation suites for trainee nurses, as well for students studying other health care courses.Yvonne Coghill with Bucks alumni and staff

CELEBRATION: Yvonne Coghill, third from right, with Bucks staff and alumni

Karen Buckwell-Nutt, Head of School for Nursing and Allied Health, said: “Part of today is about sharing messages of how good a profession nursing is, and how we shape the face of nursing.

“At Bucks we are committed to getting nurses to walk out of here proud, proud they have come from Bucks, but also to be proud that they are nurses and to be able to say ‘this is my passion’.

“Sometimes as nurses, we are almost too modest. We don’t recognise our value. We don’t think we’re in a highly skilled job because we are kind and compassionate. But actually when we are doing that, it is highly skilled, it’s a degree and one that is hard to come by. Be proud of yourself, be proud to say you are in a graduate job.”

Three Bucks nursing Alumni also paid homage to their profession and their learning at Bucks.

Roxanne Barrington-Stoute was originally a teacher in Trinidad and Tobago, then came to the UK where she built up a successful career in HR. When her daughter was born at 24-weeks she was so inspired by the care she received that she quit her job in to train as a nurse, graduating in 2013.

Roxanne, Ward Manager at Charing Cross Hospital, told the visitors:“It was the most horrible experience but I turned a negative into a positive. From the very beginning, I knew what I wanted to do and the University gave me so much support on career progression.

“It meant that when I started my first job at Imperial College Healthcare Trust and was asked about my career goals, I had a list of exactly what I wanted to achieve. Bucks made me ambitious to succeed. I love my job, I love nursing, and I love Bucks. Thank you to everyone at Bucks for what you’ve done for me and what you’ll do for future nurses.”

It wasn’t just the nursing team at Bucks who were praised but also the University’s Disability Service.

Joe Rouse is Clinical Implementation Coordinator at Bucks Healthcare Trust who is developing systems to support patient safety and care. Graduating from Bucks in 2016 with a BSc (Hons) Nursing (Children’s), Joe said: “Bucks, and in particular the Disability Service, helped support me with my dyslexia during my time at university. The link lecturers were also really supportive during placements to make sure you’re OK and help you get the most out of our time in practice.”

Sizwe Sabawu, a senior staff nurse,joined as a mature student and graduated in 2018 with a Postgraduate Diploma Nursing (Mental Health).

He said: “Bucks is special because of the diverse group of students, and the way everyone is welcomed to the University. I received lots of support from lecturers, and Bucks prepared me so well for the world of nursing. Students are encouraged to think about their career ambitions, and then supported to get where they want to be.

“It’s easy to get a good job when you graduate from Bucks because you’re given all the tools to succeed.

“The first job I took turned out not to be right for me, and the resilience I was given at Bucks has given me the guts to look for another role.  I’m starting a new job that I’m really excited about and that’s thanks to the confidence instilled in me by my lecturers and tutors at Bucks.”

Bucks offers nursing degrees in Children’s, Adult and Mental health as well as opportunities for nurses or healthcare workers to continue their development with Masters and short CPD courses.

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