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Sunday, 05 July 2015

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‘Grow your own’ scheme to woo nursing recruits

A FORMER cadet – who is now one of West Cumberland Hospital’s most senior nurses – is championing a new scheme for the area to grow its own workforce.

Lesley Carruthers: “The experience gave me a real understanding as to what I wanted to do for the rest of my life”

Lakes College is launching its new nursing cadet course in September thanks to a partnership with the North Cumbria University Hospital’s Trust and Cumbria Partnership Foundation Trust.

Lesley Carruthers is now the Trust’s deputy director of nursing after beginning her career as a nursing cadet 40 years ago.

She said: “As I experienced myself at 16, being a nursing cadet was a fantastic way of learning what life was like on the wards and a way of developing life skills as well as basic nursing techniques.

“I am absolutely delighted that we’ve been able to work with partners to bring the programme back as this is a real opportunity for the region to grow its own nursing workforce.”

The first cohort of 25 cadets will start in September and work closely with nurses from across north Cumbria.

Lesley said: “I wanted to be a nurse from the age of 14 when I cared for my ill grandfather until his death and then, when we relocated my nana to Cumbria, who was going blind. The experience gave me a real understanding as to what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

She said being a nurse cadet was “a fabulous way to gain the experience needed and become familiar with hospital surroundings and colleagues”.

The original cadet programme was superseded in the mid-1970s.

Nikki Bridson-Nelson of Cumbria Partnership Foundation Trust, is the project’s development lead and is responsible for setting up the cadetship.

She said: “It is such a good opportunity to get people interested in pursuing a nursing career and nurturing our own talent right here in north Cumbria.

“They will be able to get a real flavour of the range of nursing posts they can choose to train and further specialise in following the two year cadetship.”

Kath Armstrong, a tutor at Lakes College, said: “We have a mocked-up ward here in the college thanks to support from the NHS trusts and this will provide a training hub as the new cadets will not be introduced on to actual wards until after Christmas.”

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