Student nurses and retirees step-up during the pandemic at Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust

In response to the Covid pandemic, Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust established a training week to rapidly upskill their nursing workforce who had been redeployed to ward areas.

This included upskilling newly qualified nurses, overseas nurses, student nurses and clinical nurse specialists on skills such as venepuncture and cannulation, PPE and medicines management. The aim was to rapidly upskill deployed nurses so that the pressure on regular ward staff was reduced and to ensure staff were equipped to deliver the best possible care throughout the
pandemic to patients. To make sure the ‘skills week’ hit the mark, a gap analysis was carried out across the nursing workforce in the form of a survey to identify key priorities.

From those attending, the programme upskilled 97 student nurses to undertake enhanced clinical skills, 75 newly qualified nurses to develop the competencies needed for their role, and 102
specialist and senior nurses not currently working clinically, who returned during the pandemic. This meant that support could be provided to 21 different clinical areas and it also enabled experienced ward staff to be released to support critical care. Following the introduction of the programme, the Trust revisited the gap analysis which highlighted that staff who attended the skills week felt it was a positive experience and that they were also grateful for the pastoral support provided. The key success of the programme wasn’t just the clinical information shared or the
skills learnt, but the fact they left feeling supported and empowered to nurse on the frontline during the height of the Covid pandemic. The Trust is now looking to evolve the programme and will be using the video series developed as an integral part of the nurse education delivery.