The RCN cadets are pictured here outside the Birmingham Treatment Centre at City Hospital

Jun 07th 2021

Trust hosts nursing cadets in England first

FIFTEEN young people with an interest in health careers have just become the first in England to undertake a clinical observation placement, through The RCN Prince Of Wales Nursing Cadet scheme.

Hosted by Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust (SWB NHS Trust), the cadets aged between 17 and 18 began their four day placement on the frontline of acute NHS care, in environments which have seen extreme pressure as health workers responded to the extraordinary challenges of treating COVID-19 patients.

But that did not deter the young cadets who are all considering a career in healthcare, despite observing the effects of the pandemic on the health service over the past year.

Eighteen-year-old Sukhpal Singh from Smethwick commented: “The nursing cadet scheme has been so good, I’ve learned so much on it and gained an insight that healthcare roles are much more than just treating patients.

“The placement element is so important because you get to see what you’ve learned in practice, and actually see it in a real life scenario. It prepares you for what your career might be like in the future.”

The RCN Prince Of Wales Nursing Cadet scheme offers a blended learning opportunity for cadets; it provides a transformational learning experience to improve the confidence, skills and knowledge of the participants and to raise awareness of healthcare careers, including nursing.

Mel Roberts, Interim Chief Nurse at SWB NHS Trust said: “As a teaching Trust, it is always a pleasure to educate and inspire the next generation of NHS staff, and we are particularly delighted to see the enthusiasm of these cadets who are on placements across our organisation.

“As we open what promises to be Europe’s busiest emergency hospital – the Midland Metropolitan University Hospital – next year, we are keen to attract the very best talent in new entrants to the health profession, so supporting this scheme is of paramount importance to us.”

Lindsay Meeks, Regional Director, RCN West Midlands, said “It was so uplifting to meet the cadets today. They were all so positive and full of energy. These young people are our future workforce and it’s fantastic to see the partnership between Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust and Holly Lodge Combined Cadet Force working so well for the nursing cadets. This scheme is opening doors for our young people that might otherwise stay closed.”

Sandy Harding, Head of The RCN Prince of Wales Nursing Cadet Scheme, added: “The scheme was created when His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, as an ambassador of the NHS, approached the Royal College of Nursing in 2017 with a proposal to work with the nursing profession to widen the opportunities for young people, who would not otherwise consider or be eligible, to follow a course in Nursing or other health and social care related careers. Two years on and we are delighted to have launched the scheme beyond Wales, into England, and have our first cadets reach placement stage here in the West Midlands.”


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