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Incredible Students Inspire Coventry University Professor Alison Bardsley to Return to NHS Frontline

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A Coventry University nursing academic has been inspired by her students to dust off her scrubs and join the frontline fight against COVID-19

Alison Bardsley, Assistant Professor for Non-Medical Prescribing for the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health at Coventry University, teaches advanced practitioners such as paramedics, pharmacists, nurses, physiotherapists, and other allied health professionals knowledge and skills that will allow them to prescribe medication in clinical practice to support patients’ timely treatment and management.

The sacrifices of her students and colleagues in practice and the rise in coronavirus cases over the last few months has encouraged Alison to join the NHS effort and she is spending her weekends and annual leave joining students from Coventry University on the wards as a band seven bank nurse. 

She said: ‘A calling is a bit clichéd but there has been a pull to go back and to help. It is really hard as a professional nurse to sit watching all of your friends, family and colleagues all suffering out there. I don’t want to knit or watch TV at the weekend with this going on, it just does not feel right.  

‘Before Christmas it did not feel so bad out there in practice. Then it changed again. I was talking to the students and they were so busy. I was sat there thinking ‘I’m not doing anything here’. I think that is where my drive to return comes from. I heard their stories, the stories of my sister who is a district nurse, my friends on the frontline and I felt I was not doing enough.”’

Alison returned to the wards for the first time in 30 years to support University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire during the first lockdown. The Assistant Professor says she is amazed by the ability of her students to juggle their studies with their work in the NHS. 

She said: ‘I’ve been at the university for 12 years and before that I was a bladder and bowel specialist in the community. I had not been on a ward for nearly 30 years so it was a bit of a culture shock. 

‘Although things have changed in terms of electronic systems and policies, essential nursing care does not change.  The skills that enable me to provide a high-quality and dignified standard of care to patients are still current.  

‘My students are a lot of the advanced practitioners out there who are very much on the front line. I just feel so incredibly proud of them. To manage to do that during a pandemic and study is incredible and testament to them. They are juggling work, studying, family. It is also inspiring to see Allied Health Professionals such as podiatrists working on the wards as health care assistants, to support their nursing colleagues. We are fortunate to have some extraordinary people working across all levels in the NHS.’

Find out how you can follow in Alison and our students’ footsteps here.

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