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Pioneering tomorrow’s patient care

Manchester has a history of trailblazing work in educating health care professionals. The University appointed the first professor of nursing in England, Jean McFarlane, and established the country’s first nursing degree. Natasha Wragg, an undergraduate studying Adult Nursing at our School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, tells us how that pioneering spirit informs our courses today.

“Hi, are you that student nurse?” Natasha remembers the nervousness that gripped her when stopped by a voice outside the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, where she was working on a placement.

“Thank you so much!” continued the voice, and the nerves faded away. Natasha recognised the speaker as a patient who had been in to have a cataract removed. Natasha’s willingness to listen to the lady’s worries and explain the procedure had really helped to put her at ease.

The operation had been a success. The tearful patient embraced Natasha, who knew it was a key point in her career. It showed that everything she had learned so far was putting her on the right path to helping patients. “We do a lot of role play in seminars to learn about communicating with difficult people and patients who might not be able to understand you,” Natasha explains. “We’re taught how to explain things to our patients – it’s not just the health care professional that needs to understand. It’s the patient too.”

From the 24/7 hub of the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons to undergraduate courses that enable students to learn through undertaking research, there are unique and innovative ways to study and learn across the University. For Natasha, it’s the laboratories in our School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Care that have played the biggest part in preparing her for moments like the one outside the hospital.

“They’re at the forefront of the kind of technology that you can have access to as a student. Machinery, hoists, beds, mannequins, injection equipment – they’re all there,” Natasha explains. “And you can use them whenever you need – you just ask your lecturer and then book yourself in. It’s great to have these resources available whenever you need to refresh your clinical or interpersonal skills – for example, in moving and handling patients.”

This flexibility also extends to the teaching provision. All of the lectures on Natasha’s courses are recorded so that they can be revisited on our online learning platform, Blackboard. “If you’re a bit hazy on something, such as the procedure for drawing up insulin, it’s all there for you to refer to. You can then go and practise your skills in the lab,” says Natasha.

And the placement? Natasha believes it will help her career immeasurably. “Every day you speak to a patient or a different health care professional who has a different point of view to you. Situations like these help you interpret what people are saying to you,” she claims.

“You have to work together in a collaborative way. Ultimately, you reach the conclusion that will help the patient.”

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