Care home provides valuable learning opportunity for trainee nurses

(L-R) Student nurse Julie Cooney with resident Edith Robinson

An exciting new training opportunity has opened up at Wellington-based residential home Camelot Lodge for undergraduate students from Plymouth University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery.


As part of the training given to first-year nursing students, a nine-week placemen has been organised at this specialist dementia-care home, in association with the University’s health care practice placement development team.


The first trainee nurse to experience a Camelot Care nursing placement is 46 year-old Julie Cooney. Married with three children, Julie comes to nursing as a mature student.


Julie said: “Nursing has been my life-long ambition. Before I enrolled on my university course, I worked for two years at our local doctors’ surgery in the Teign Valley. I started off as a phlebotomist and then once I’d settled in and told them what I was hoping to do, they trained me to become a health care assistant. 


“My first week of placement at Camelot Lodge was quite an eye-opener. Working in a nursing home is very different from learning about nursing in the lecture theatre. But now I think it’s the biggest privilege to be entrusted with the well-being of so many vulnerable people, and I’m getting fantastic support from my mentor at Camelot House, Anil George.”


Anil, who has worked at Camelot House for three and a half years, has taken Julie under his wing and was praised by Joanne Gold, Practice Placement Development Lead for Somerset, for delivering a ‘very comprehensive and well planned’ teaching session.


Joanne said: “A placement like this gives our students a fantastic insight into multi-professional teamwork within healthcare, and demonstrates that nursing is not just about the ‘doing’, but also about the thinking, reflection and provision of evidence, teaching them to provide a safe and positive experience of caring.”


Camelot Care’s operations manager, Clare Woodhead, said: “Our homes provide very valuable learning opportunities in an innovative and dynamic environment, and we are delighted to be in the forefront among local dementia care providers in offering a student placement of this kind.”


The demand for specialist nurses is set to rise, because according to the Alzheimer’s Society there are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers likely to exceed one million by 2025.


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