Student nurses gain valuable experience on a mental health and learning disability placement

Student nurses specialising in mental health and learning disabilities are to be given a “deeper understanding” of the sector by gaining in-depth work experience at one of the largest mental health hospitals in the UK.


St Andrew’s Healthcare, which is based in Northampton, has once again teamed up with the University of Northampton to provide students there the opportunity to join the Healthcare Landscape Nursing Placement programme. Two cohorts of third year nurses have already taken part in the initiative, which began in February. The placements have been hugely successful as participants are rotated through different departments for a week at a time. This means they gain different experience in a wide range of services provided at the hospital, including Infection Prevention Control (IPC), Research, Pharmacy and Quality Assurance.

Ezeh Uzomna, who has completed the Healthcare Landscape placement, said: “The value of this placement should not be overlooked. I gained experience within the Psychiatric Intensive Care Units (PICU) the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) college, Pharmacy, IPC and the Governance team. Completing a whole week with each team gave me a wonderful insight into how they work. This means, once I graduate, I will have a much clearer idea of which area I would like to specialise in. I also believe it will make me a better nurse as I will have a deeper understanding of other services.”

Student nurse Adebayo Emmanuel Komolafe, who has also recently taken part in the programme, said: “It was incredibly interesting working within different teams on a weekly basis. It was also very insightful and has enhanced my knowledge in this profession. Being a part of this placement was a real lifetime opportunity and I’m so grateful that I got a chance to be a part of it. Everybody who I worked alongside were so knowledgeable about their jobs, so I learnt such a lot and it’s inspired me.” The placement is a mixture of practical work, shadowing and classroom-based learning. Students also get invited to spend time with the heads of various departments including nursing, learning and development and physiotherapy. They also complete a week of virtual learning, workshops and bite size courses.

Rachael Garner, Preceptorship Lead at St Andrew’s Healthcare, said: “This placement provides nursing students with an insight and deeper understanding into the wider departments involved within patient care here at St Andrew’s Healthcare. The students get a holistic overview of all the different roles, which really helps to bring to life what they have learnt at university”

“So much goes on behind the scenes and it’s important for students to appreciate this and learn about specific roles which might interest them once they have completed their degree. We’re really proud of this initiative and to be involved in helping to shape the nurses of the future.”

St Andrew’s Healthcare is part of the ‘Best of Both Worlds’ recruitment campaign. The campaign brings together the University of Northampton, Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Northampton General Hospital, Kettering General Hospital (KGH), St Andrew’s Healthcare and Northants GP and aims to recruit nurses, doctors, and healthcare professionals to live and work in Northamptonshire.

To find out about other vacancies across Northamptonshire visit