Coleg Gwent refresher training boosts NHS resources

John Whitcher and Helen Curtis, Coleg Gwent

Coleg Gwent is proud to be playing a pivotal role in the nation’s fight against the Coronavirus pandemic with staff members, Helen Curtis and John Whitcher, delivering fast-track refresher training to nursing staff who are returning to the NHS front line during the crisis.

 The college already has a strong working relationship with Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, working closely with them throughout the academic year via their Employer Engagement programme. This scheme helps to ensure that Coleg Gwent delivers a curriculum that’s relevant to industry practice, while also providing valuable placements and hands-on workshops to ensure that learners are work-ready on leaving college.

 During this unprecedented outbreak of the Coronavirus, Coleg Gwent is now building on this partnership and extending its services further, in a bid to help one of the most heavily affected health boards in the country. In collaboration with Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, Coleg Gwent has opened its Usk Campus premises for use as a training facility, to enable the delivery of a fast-track refresher designed to re-train nurses returning to the health board from retirement, and those who have moved to frontline working at this critical time.

 To enable the success of this project, dedicated and knowledgeable staff from Coleg Gwent have volunteered to deliver vital training, including two of our teaching members of staff who are Registered Nurses - Helen Curtis from Pontypool Campus and John Whitcher from Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone. The two trainers are working in partnership with Cardiff University in Coleg Gwent’s Usk Campus to provide the clinical skills and induction training to 16 staff per hour. They will be doing this every day for the next two weeks, and as long as is required thereafter, to mobilise more nurses and boost resources on the NHS front line, to assist in the fight against Coronavirus.

 The session covers essential clinical skills and principles such as infection control, physiological measurements to assess the function of major organ systems, and oxygen saturation and blood sugar monitoring – all of which are crucial skills in caring for COVID-19 patients.

 Guy Lacey, Principal at Coleg Gwent, explained; “We are keen to do whatever we can to support Aneurin Bevan University Health Board at this really challenging time. We’ll keep in touch and make sure their colleagues are supported at our Usk Campus with whatever they need.”

 Aneurin Bevan University Health Board aims to deliver this training to between 500 and 600 nurses moving into front line roles or returning to the front line from retirement this April. In this ever-changing situation, there is a need for communities to show their support for our healthcare services, and Coleg Gwent is proud to contribute in such a way.

 Alongside this vital work with the local health board, staff and learners from Coleg Gwent are giving up their time and effort to deliver support in any way they can. Over 40 learners have expressed an interest in volunteering to work in local health and social care settings through the Gwent Regional Partnership with local authorities, which could range from making deliveries of prescriptions to directly caring for the elderly. The Coleg Gwent community is pulling together in this time of need, using its wide range of skills, industry-standard resources and local facilities to make a positive difference, including donating PPE to the local hospital and 3D-printing more protective face masks for healthcare staff.