Two students’ exceptional leadership skills have won them a place on a prestigious national health programme.
Matthew Price and Ismat Khan both students at the University of Cumbria, applied for a place on the Council of Deans of Health UK Student Leadership Programme and were accepted before the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lock down.
The exclusive programme selects the top 50 rising stars currently enrolled on healthcare programmes and develops their leadership skills on an intensive six-month course.
Many graduates of the programme go on to take up leadership roles across health and social care and it’s viewed by many in the sector as a stepping stone to success.
Matthew Price, who is 28 and originally from Hertfordshire, is a first year student and, up until recently, was studying Dip HE Paramedic Practice at the university’s Ambleside campus.
Now all first year placements have been temporarily paused due to Covid 19, and he has successfully resumed studies online.
He said: “We're lucky to have a superb academic team and they have been great at keeping us all in the loop and have put in place provisions for us to attend lectures, complete our theory and demonstrate our practical skills online. The latter will see us recording ourselves going through various scenarios using members of our household as patients.”
Coming to the fore as mature student, Matthew left behind a lucrative career in IT in the city, before opting to train as a paramedic because he wanted to help people.
He said: “I worked in city for Lloyd's Banking Group for five years, having studied computer engineering previously. I enjoyed it but it didn’t seem to satisfy me.
“But then I saw a show about being paramedic. The thought that I could be a hero too just wouldn’t leave me so that then spurred me on to change career.”
What attracted Matthew to apply for the leadership programme was a desire to offer the best care to his patients.
He continued, “I believe that we must not only be the best practitioners we can be but also help those around us to be their best.
“By improving my leadership skills, I hope to be able to influence learning and best practice across the sector to promote improvements that will affect as many people as possible”.
Now the programme is convened online and students have been assigned a mentor who will guide them through a project throughout their experience.
Ismat Khan, 19, from Preston is studying BSc (Hons) Diagnostic Radiography.
Keen to become a practising radiographer, Ismat enjoys the practical placements on her course most and was desperate to start working in the real world, even if that involved 12-hour night shifts.
Now in light of the pandemic, Ismat has admirably opted to go back into placement to assist the NHS.
She said: “I was drawn to the leadership programme because it presented itself as an opportunity to get-ahead and broaden my career prospects prior to graduating.
“The programme also appealed to me as it provides coaching in a range of skills required for working in a clinical environment such as self-awareness and emotional intelligence.”
She concluded: “In the spirit of saying ‘yes to every opportunity’ this year, I applied but honestly did not expect to get accepted.
“I am so grateful and humbled to have been chosen to be one of the top 50 student leaders.”
A blog Ismat wrote in reaction to gaining a place on the programme, was so well received that it was republished by the Society of Radiographers.
Professor Brian Webster-Henderson Pro Vice Chancellor for Health at the university who is also Chair of the Council of Deans of Health UK is delighted that not one but two Cumbrian students have been selected for the programme.
He said:" I am in no doubt at all that they will personally benefit from this and so will the university and its student community in health care.
"This programme has gained much acclaim, from health leaders across the UK and previous applicants have made significant impact in their respective fields. I am delighted for both our students”
The Student Leadership Programme aims to promote and develop leadership skills among the future nursing, midwifery and allied healthcare profession workforce by working with first and second year pre-registration students.
The programme is designed with students to ensure it focuses on areas not covered in current pre-registration curriculum.
The Council of Deans of Health represents the UK’s university faculties engaged in education and research for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals.