Every 24 hours it sees one million patients and with 1.7 million staff the NHS is the fifth biggest employer in the world.
Many third year University of Cumbria nursing students are about to join the ranks of the organisation at a time of major change within the profession. From the development of new roles such as associate nurses to new ways of providing community healthcare, candidates leaving this year will arguably have the widest range of opportunities open to them.
With change in the air, 80 nursing students attended an event at the University of Cumbria aimed at bringing potential employers, unions, former students now working in health as well as senior NHS staff together.
The Nursing Employability Conference at Fusehill Street also saw employability workshops held covering preceptorship, raising concerns, nursing careers in the forces, leadership and continuous service improvement.
“We enjoy a really high employability rate at the University of Cumbria and our students are in demand,” Fiona Boyle, employability manager for the university said. ”To give them the experience of meeting employers and the opportunity to hear from leading clinicians is vital to make sure our students are ready for a demanding but rewarding career.”
Among the speakers was Gill Long, head of nursing, clinical education and practice development at the North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, who explained how services in north and west Cumbria will change and the need for developments to be sustainable in the longer term.
“The needs of the population will influence the skills of future nurses,” Gill said. Marking 24 years in nursing, the former University of Cumbria student had this advice for her audience. “Be flexible, be curious, always look for another way and always remember that the patient is at the heart of everything you do.”
A second conference will take place at the Lancaster campus of the University of Cumbria next Thursday (30 March) offering students in north Lancashire the chance to network, hear from key note speakers and take the first step onto the careers ladder.