PICTURED: Richard Desir, Nursing Officer for Wales, cuts the ribbon to officially open the Nurse Education Training Suite.
A purpose-built training facility crucial to the development of nurses within Swansea Bay has officially opened.
The Nurse Education Training Suite has been built in the health board’s Baglan headquarters to help nurses recruited from abroad attain the required UK registration to fulfil their role. It will also be used to nurture the skills of nurses across Swansea Bay.
It is the first time the health board has built a facility specifically for nurse development. It includes two rooms designed like wards, two teaching rooms, a quiet study area and clinical skills room.
The training suite was officially opened today, to coincide with International Nurses Day (May 12).
Head of Nursing Education and Recruitment Lynne Jones, said: “It is fantastic that we now have a dedicated Nurse Education Training Suite. The facility is far superior to anything we have had previously and we can now train all of our international nurses for their OSCE exam in a facility that is fully equipped and provides an excellent learning environment, giving them the optimum chance of passing their exam.
“The suite will also be used for a variety of other educational activities for our nursing staff, like intravenous clinical skills training, Practice Assessor and Practice Supervisor updating, clinical supervision, and documentation and record-keeping sessions.”
The health board is ethically recruiting hundreds of international trained nurses over two years to fill Band 5 nursing vacancies, with the majority of those going into acute care settings in Singleton, Morriston and Neath Port Talbot hospitals.
Following compliance checks and obtaining a visa, nurses face a four-week OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) training programme in the health board’s HQ, where they are taught assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation of a patient through a number of workshops. These look at areas like wound dressings, injections and inserting a nasogastric tube.
Following that, they sit an exam to gain their Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) registration before starting work on Swansea Bay’s wards.
Prior to the new facility being built, nurses were training in a temporary area previously used as a meeting room.
Among the first to be taught in the new training centre were a cohort of 107 nurses recently hired by the health board following its first recruitment drive in India. Over 250 more nurses are due to arrive over the next year.
Joel Alphonso (pictured) was among those to be recruited. He is now preparing for his OSCE exam following the training he’s received since his arrival in Swansea Bay.
Joel, 26, from Mumbai, said: “The facilities here are very good – I’ve been really impressed with the quality of training and also the set up of the training suite. The infrastructure and teaching is similar to what I experienced in India, but the difference here is the training is very much focused on the patient.
“I’ve been impressed with how realistic the rooms are set up as they are identical to a ward. It prepares nurses perfectly for when they start work on the ward.”
The training facility will officially be known as the Lynne Jones Training Suite to mark Lynne’s dedication and commitment to the education of nurses within Swansea Bay.
She has been a nurse for 40 years and spent the last 21 years in nurse education and recruitment roles, and has been pivotal in attracting overseas nurses to the health board.
Gareth Howells, Executive Director of Nursing, said: “It’s testimony to Lynne’s years of input and support to students and nurses within Swansea Bay. She has been wonderful in terms of her direction and dedication, especially around international recruitment.
“Lynne has been in this field for 21 years, and it’s something to mark her achievements. It’s something she deserves, and it’s a lovely reminder of the impact she’s made in nursing.
“She has done a brilliant job of developing people and services within our health board for a number of decades.”
PICTURED: Practice Development Nurses Karen Williams, Omobola Akinade and Julie Barnes with Lynne Jones, Head of Nursing Education and Recruitment and Susan Mhlahleli, Practice Development.
On the opening of the training suite, Chief Nursing Officer Sue Tranka said: “Since its inception the NHS has always welcomed and supported colleagues from across the globe, and we are pleased to welcome our international nurses to Wales.
“We are extremely proud to have their expertise as part of our nursing teams across our NHS. I want to offer a very warm welcome to the nurses who have recently joined Swansea Bay University Health Board.
“We must ensure our internationally educated nurses receive the training and support they require to settle quickly into their new roles and the wider community in order to thrive within our profession.
“I am delighted that the new training facilities at the health board will provide excellent support for the international nurses as they start their journey here in Wales, as well as providing a wide range of skills training for all nurses.”