A partnership project between the University of Stirling, NHS Western Isles, NHS Highland and local authorities has been shortlisted for the 'Partnership of the Year' award by the Student Nursing Times.
The pre-nursing scholarship programme is an initiative designed by the University of Stirling and developed in conjunction with NHS Board partners in the Western Isles and Highland, as well as the associated local authorities.
The two year pilot project was set up in August 2011. It is offered to young people in secondary education (S5/6) from remote and rural areas of the Western Isles and Highlands; providing both work experience in a healthcare environment within their own locality and a 'Skills for Work' qualification.
This unique programme, the first of its kind in the UK, aims to address issues of recruitment, retention and sustainability of healthcare workers in remote and rural areas. The programme includes features such as a 'so you want to be a nurse' event, as well as a one-week residential programme and one-week practice learning experience. Participants are also given the opportunity to undertake an SQA 'Skills for Work' qualification.
NHS Western Isles Chief Executive Gordon Jamieson said: "In a remote and rural area such as the Western Isles, there are clear and well-known challenges that we face in terms of the recruitment and retention of healthcare staff, and we always welcome opportunities to encourage and promote the islands and healthcare careers here. We were delighted to work with partners on the pre-nursing scholarship programme to promote nursing as a first choice career, help people develop employability skills, and provide insight into the nursing profession amongst young people with an interest. It is anticipated that young people returning to School will become ambassadors for health in their area.
"The fact that the partnership has been shortlisted for the 'Partnership of the Year' Award is testament to the success of the collaboration. All parties should feel very proud to have been involved in setting up such a successful and important project."
Annetta Smith, Associate Head of School, Highland and Western Isles Campus, said: "The scholarship programme has been such a fantastic opportunity for school pupils in Uist and Barra to get a taste of nursing that will also help them to make this profession their career choice. The nursing students from the University's Western Isles campus who have helped to mentor the students have shared their experience and insights with the pupils. The opportunity to work in such close partnership with the schools and local authority has been pivotal to the success of this project. We look forward to opening up this exciting opportunity to pupils in Lewis and Harris in 2013."
Meanwhile, two students studying nursing in Stornoway have also been shortlisted for 'Student Nurse of the Year' (adult nursing). Michelle Davidson and Graeme Macpherson are both students at Stirling University's Western Isles campus.
Dr Smith commented: "I am delighted that the commitment to and achievement in the undergraduate nursing programme shown by Graeme and Michelle has been recognised by their candidature for such a prestigious award. Graeme and Michelle feel that the support that they have enjoyed from their mentors in NHS Western Isles and by the campus staff has been important to their success."
Press Releases/Partnership/March 2013 NHS Western Isles Press Release
"The best at what we do"
NHS Western Isles will work actively with patients, the public and our partners to improve our community's health and wellbeing, to tackle inequalities, and to deliver high quality, reliable clinical services.
"SÀR-MHATH AIR NA THA SINN A'COILIONADH"
Obraichidh Bòrd Slàinte nan Eilean Siar còmhla ri euslaintaich, am poball agus ar compàirtean gu piseach a thoirt air slàinte agus maitheas ar coimhearsnachd, gu neo-ionannachd a sheachnadh, agus
gu seirbhisean chlionaigeach a tha earbsach agus aig àrd-inbhe a lìbhrigeadh.