April 30, 2021, by School of Medicine
30 at 30: Thoughts on Nursing at Nottingham from Dame Elizabeth Fradd DBE DL
I am delighted to write this short piece as part of the 30-year Celebration of Nursing at Nottingham University. It has been a privilege to observe, and at times participate in, the development of Nursing Education which has blossomed since its move from the Hospital–based School of Nursing to the University. I am sure the success of the established Department of Nursing Studies already in the University, headed up by Jane Robertson, acted as a sound bedrock in the early days of the move. Their history of Nursing and Midwifery research, I believe, helped build the profile of the Nursing and Midwifery programmes.
As a Special Professor I have enjoyed supporting and teaching students, particularly those specialising in the care of children and, more recently, those at the end of their programmes. It is towards the end of programmes when they are able to fully assess the benefit of the experience already encountered together with the fascination of the world they are about to work in. It was while mentoring groups of Masters students undertaking their management modules that I fully recognised the extraordinary changes that have taken place over recent years. Students I worked with, and those I still meet, are mature, articulate and thoughtful. They understand the need to base judgements on sound evidence and make every effort to seek it out. They work well together in small groups, are self-motivated and are passionate about the subject matter being studied. I genuinely believe Nurses and Midwives are now more capable of making good decisions on behalf of their patients in clinical practice as well as in academia. When I am challenged about Nurses being educated in Higher Education, I turn the question around and ask when you or someone close to you is in need of care do you want a nurse who is capable of making sound decisions about your plan of care, will speak up if they believe an element of care is not appropriate and may need to be changed, can make judgements about how to involve your family, understands the evidence on which they are basing the care they are going to give you and are caring and supportive of you and those you love?
One of the joys of working with the students is to see the difference they can make even while they are still learning. An example was a group of four students whose project was focused on end-of-life care for young people. They followed up with the contacts I suggested and visited a children’s facility caring for young people at the end of their life and an adult facility. The result is that the adult facility that previously didn’t offer any care for young people now has a designated nurse to head up the appropriate transfer of young people from care focused on children to adult care in the community.
I am proud to be associated with a School that has had, particularly recently, an amazing number of National Awards presented to both students and staff and I wish them well for the future.
Dame Elizabeth Fradd DBE DL
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