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Success Celebrated At Student Nursing Times Awards

Return to Practice Course of the Year Award 2017
The University of Chester and Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Return to Practice Team

16 May 2017

Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (MCHFT), in partnership with the University of Chester, has been named a winner at this year’s Student Nursing Times Awards.

The collaboration won the Return to Practice Course of the Year category, as a result of the salaried training scheme delivered at Crewe's Leighton Hospital.

The project was led Sue Hamman, Head of Nursing and Healthcare Professions at the Trust, and Chris Barker, Senior Lecturer in the university's Faculty of Health and Social Care.

As a significant proportion of nurses and midwives approach retirement age, the UK faces a nursing shortage. This category looked at how Return to Practice courses are an essential way of bringing nurses back into the workforce, but adult learners or those who have been out of the profession and practice for a while need support to refresh and update their knowledge and skills. 

Judges looked for a course that will help smooth nurses’ or midwives’ route back into their profession and help them quickly and easily get up to speed with modern practice, however long they have been away.

MCHFT and the university worked together to develop a flexible, innovative and supportive course to bring experienced nurses back to the profession. The pilot course has achieved a 100% success rate, with all the students completing and returning to clinical practice. Now, thanks to such positive feedback and results, funding has been granted for another two cohorts.

The Student Nursing Times Awards are a perfect opportunity to support the whole student nursing profession and to celebrate the achievements of students shaping the future of nursing. They celebrate the very best in nurse education, recognise and reward brilliant educational establishments, and honour those who are committed to developing new nursing talent as mentors, lecturers and providers of placements. 

The awards also pay tribute to students who have demonstrated the academic achievement, clinical prowess and personal qualities that will make them brilliant nurses.

Tracy Bullock, Chief Executive of MCHFT, said: “We are very proud of winning this award. It’s a reflection of all the hard work that has gone into our Return to Practice programme, which truly embraces the needs of former nurses so that they can return to a career in nursing.

 “Thanks to the success of the programme we will be launching a new cohort in September and we’d be happy to discuss opportunities with anyone who may be interested in putting their invaluable skills and experience back into practice.”

Chris Barker added: “The Student Nursing Times Awards has been an amazing experience and wonderful for us to achieve such recognition for our fantastic Return to Practice course.

 "The judging panel praised us for our outstanding collaborative working and commitment to constantly improve and develop the course, through seeking student feedback. We are now busy recruiting and looking forward to welcoming our next cohort of students, due to commence in September."

Nursing Times and Student Nursing Times Editor Jenni Middleton said: “The Student Nursing Times Awards are always very special. Every year I am impressed by the standard of the students who enter - they demonstrate all the hard work, intelligence, enthusiasm, passion and skill we want to see in our future workforce. It is incredible to look at what they achieve in addition to their studies.

"Of course, they could not do that without the support of their mentors on placement and university staff, which is why we are so pleased to be able to honour those individuals and institutions in these awards too. This event shows the excellence entering nursing and we are extremely proud of all our finalists and winners. Congratulations to them all.

Former nurses looking to get back into the profession can come along to the University of Chester open day at the Riverside Campus on Saturday 3 June and speak to Chris. Alternatively, contact Audrey Butterworth, HR Assistant at MCHFT, for further information on the course (01270 273712 / audrey.butterworth@mcht.nhs.uk).