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Jonathon Murphy, third-year Mental Health Nursing student, talks about his first day on placement during the coronavirus outbreak.

"I opted in for the same reason I came to study Mental Health Nursing at University of Chester - I want to make a difference and be a force for good. I've always been certain of this and have never let anything stand in my way. That being said, on Monday morning I was scared. I wasn't sure how I would fit in on the ward, particularly in this difficult time and with supernumerary status suspended (this status was introduced so that student nurses would be classed as additional to the clinical workforce in order to undertake a placement in clinical practice to learn, not as members of staff). I was worried that I wouldn't measure up to the staff already on the ward. However, when I arrived, I was immediately welcomed in. I had everything explained to me and felt like a proper part of the team. I really felt like my being there was valued by the ward staff.

I had been concerned about any gaps in my knowledge, but being thrown into this situation I realised that the previous two years of study had given me far more knowledge and skills than I had even realised. It wasn't long before it dawned on me that, with a little guidance and support, I felt incredibly prepared and more than capable to join the front line against COVID-19. When I spoke with other members of my cohort after my shift, they expressed the same thing to me as well! 

I am so proud of every student nurse for how they are facing this challenge, whether it be opting in and working on the wards or choosing to stay at home and protect families or loved ones. I know that we have it within us to face this head on and come out best on the other side! Let's smash it! Up the nurses! Up the NHS!"

Adele Louis, second-year Adult Nursing student, shares her personal experience during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I opted in because I have never wanted anything more than to be a great nurse. I want to be there for those that need me, while their loved ones can’t at present. Although I am scared to death about the whole pandemic and how so many lives have been torn apart. I want to stand on the front line and say I did my best when I was needed most. I’ve lost a family member to this awful virus, so I know first-hand how it feels not only to have lost someone close, but the comfort I had that there were professionals there that cared and were doing their best. I’m also a single mum with five kids and that is frightening too, but as long as we all work together and give it the best we can, we can beat this! I am so proud of all my colleagues and fellow students. Now let’s go do this! Stay safe!"

Samantha Seagrave, second-year Adult Nursing student, explains why she has chosen to opt in to join the fight against COVID-19.

"I have dreamed of training to be a nurse for many years. I have worked in healthcare for 24 years in various sectors, and love working within the hospital setting on busy wards. When given the choice to opt in and support my colleagues, I jumped at the chance. Being a student nurse during this pandemic is going to be an excellent learning experience that will last throughout our careers, and help us cope with many more challenging times ahead within our nursing careers.”

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