THE HEAD of education at one of Bradford's hospital trusts has paid tribute to the student nurses who stepped up to work on wards at the height of the pandemic.

Amanda Hudson helped co-ordinate efforts to place more than 200 student nurses at Bradford Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

From Manchester to Liverpool to Bradford, they were among more than 18,000 student nurses who opted-in to work

Most of the students have now completed their placements and were clapped out alongside fellow student paramedics and midwives as part of a socially distant ceremony.

But their impact on the wards they served will be remembered forever, Ms Hudson said.

Speaking to the Telegraph & Argus, the head of education said: "They were still doing their student placements. They opted in, they didn't have to do it. Even though it was a paid placement they still had to work with us during what was a very difficult time. It was a very brave decision for a lot of them to answer.

"A number of students chose to live elsewhere so we had some living in rented accommodation and without friends or family because their nearest family were shielding or they had a health issue themselves. It was a significant sacrifice for quite a few of them.

"It was a really stressful time everywhere really. It felt like there was no guidance whatever around different aspects of care and how we needed to do it. We had to change and adapt very quickly. They managed under difficult circumstances.

"They were fantastic. The feedback from all the areas they worked in was fantastic. The teams were delighted the students came to help. They really excelled and got stuck in with everything that was needed from them."

A number of students will return later this year as full-time qualified members of staff.

But the head of education has backed the need to make nursing, midwifery and paramedicine a valued role and accessible to all.

She expressed her backing of the Telegraph & Argus' Support Our Student Nurse campaign and Royal College of Nursing call to scrap the student nurse bursary that this cohort was forced to pay.

It follows recent calls from the NHS in England for the so-called 'Covid generation' to take up newly-created nursing apprenticeships.

Huddersfield's Daisy Unsworth, who was one of those who nursed Bradford patients throughout the lockdown, also gave her support to the Support Our Student Nurses campaign. Throughout her degree, she's paired unpaid placements with two jobs - adding up to 70-80 hour weeks.

"We are mostly a forgotten breed," she said.

"We're the only generation to pay for the training and the only ones to qualify in the pandemic."

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