Nurses return to the classroom to share their knowledge

14 May 2024
Five women in front of green university poster

It’s been a case of back to school for six Hampshire health professionals but this time they have been the teachers. 

Four qualified nurses, a midwife and a physiotherapist have been taking part in a pilot University Internship scheme at the University of Winchester. 

The six have been sharing their skills and knowledge with students for one day a week across 20 weeks. 

The University’s Faculty of Health and Wellbeing hosted an event recently to celebrate the success of the scheme which it is hoped can become a model for the whole NHS. 

NHS England has funded the project with the aim of creating a two-way ‘pipeline’ between hospitals and academia.  

This initiative enabled 76 clinical staff across the southeast to gain experience and skills for teaching at a university.  Six interns from Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust (HHFT), Southern Health and Solent NHS were hosted by the University of Winchester. 

Participants in the programme have gained experience of teaching and supporting students in a university setting and the internship has acted as a taster for those who may wish to embark on a career in higher education. 

Speakers at the event all highlighted the wealth of knowledge and up-to-date frontline experience the interns brought to the classroom to the benefit of students and staff. 

First Year Midwifery student Alice Fellows personally thanked Midwife Intern Gemma Coles, and added: “She has provided a valuable insight into practice and she has a real knack for teaching and explaining things.” 

Speaking about the importance of the programme Karen Harrison, Nursing Education Senior Specialist with the NHSE, said: “We need a sustainable workforce in the NHS who can oscillate between practice and Higher Education.” 

This was echoed by University Pro Vice-Chancellor Dr Matt Webster who said in his presentation: “We have to dispel the idea that you need to give up your clinical career to become an academic.” 

At the celebration event five of the interns displayed posters they had made to describe their teaching experiences. 

Vivien Nkwocha, who works a nurse with HHFT,  praised the scheme and the support she had received from “…every member of staff whose welcoming spirit, respect and professionalism made my stay in UoW wonderful. 

“And to the students, your enthusiasm and eagerness to learn have rejuvenated my passion for nursing education.” 

Two women in front of pink posterPhysio Hannah Rhodes proudly showing off her certificate with Morag Emmett, Practice Learning Co-Ordinator at the University of Winchester

The sixth intern, Physiotherapist Hannah Rhodes gave a talk to the assembled guests at the West Downs Centre. 

Each of the six - Vivien, Hannah, Gemma,  Clementinah Phiri, Ujunwa Ezeama and Lucy Wills - received a certificate from the Dean of the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, Elizabeth Davies-Ward, who is herself a qualified nurse. 

The Dean said: “The Internship Scheme is a wonderful example of lifelong long learning for all involved, including the academic team who helped the interns navigate their way through the higher education system from the other side.  

“We are so proud of our relationship with the NHS and wider Healthcare System partners and so important to celebrate success at every opportunity, especially in this current challenging environment.” 

Pictured top: The five interns who showed their posters at the celebration event (from left) Gemma Coles, Lucy Wills, Clemantina Phiri, Unjunwa Ezeama and Vivien Nkwocha.


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