Pupils get a taste of working in the NHS during Work Observation Week at RD&E
Exeter’s future doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals had the chance to learn more about possible careers in the NHS during Work Observation Week at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.
The hospital’s annual work experience programme, which ran from 10th – 14th July, gave 40 year 10 and 11 pupils from local schools the chance to sample some of the many healthcare careers on offer and learn more about working in a busy acute hospital. The week included a packed programme of events including practical training sessions on basic life support and clinical skills, visits to Hospiscare and the Medical Equipment Management and work shadowing placements across the hospital.
A highlight of the week was the ‘mock ward’ exercise which gave the pupils a chance to learn more about the roles involved in patient care and the challenges that staff may face. The exercise gave pupils the opportunity to experience how a real-life ward is run by acting out the roles of doctors, physios, Occupational Therapists, nurses and housekeepers alongside staff from the RD&E’s Workforce Planning and Development team.
Pupil Rebekah Charles, 15, took on the role of sister during the exercise and said that it helped her find out more about possible career options in the NHS. She said: “The week has been really good - I enjoyed the lectures, learning some clinical skills and finding out how to give CPR, and the visits to different areas of the hospital were really interesting. One of the best bits was the placement in surgical outpatients; I want to be a paediatrician so I learned a lot there. It’s definitely help to confirm what I want to do when I leave school.” Fellow pupil Charlie Mayall, who was playing the role of a patient, agreed: “I had a placement with endoscopy where I got to observe some of the procedures and that was really good. I already knew that I wanted to be a doctor before I came here, however there are so many areas in a hospital that this week has helped give me a better idea of where I’d want to specialise in the future.”
Cat Rocks, RD&E Apprenticeship & Work Experience Advisor, added: “Widening participation is a continuing priority in the NHS and Work Observation Week, as well as other work experience opportunities offered by the Trust, is instrumental in this. Taking part in Work Observation Week can help students learn more about a desired career, and help them gain valuable knowledge and practical experience; it can also help the students develop aspirations for career options in healthcare that they had not previously considered.
“Co-ordinating the week is a lot of hard work, and could not be done without the support of many other members of staff working across the Trust, but the feedback we get from the students each year is overwhelmingly positive and makes the task of organising the week’s activities worthwhile.”