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Elderly help prepare the next generation of nurses

Published: April 5, 2019

Cornwall College Saltash

Elderly people in Cornwall and Devon have been helping the next generation of nurses by giving their time and insights into their lives.

A group of nursing students held a focus group with members of the older generation to gain a further understanding of issues facing them and their families.

The Access to Higher Education in Nursing students from Cornwall College Saltash who are currently studying a Life Span Development module, spoke to the group about various sensitive issues from care plans, how they feel about getting older and possibly losing some independence to how they have settled into retirement and the one piece of advice they would like to give.

Valerie Bullock, 86 years old, told the group to “keep aiming high, never give up and do the best you can”.

She was joined by Judith McQuillen, 72 years old, who said “when I was their age and I wouldn’t have thought I could achieve what they are aiming to achieve”.

“Youngsters seem more self-assured these days, it’s fantastic,” she added.

Access to Nursing student, Steph Mackley, said it was a very “surprising, rewarding and stimulating day”.

“It is great to link these conversations to a lot of what we have learnt in the classroom. It is really motivating to see a fearless approach to ageing, very refreshing.”

Lecturer for Access to Higher Education at Cornwall College Saltash, Norma Barrett, explained it is the third year running Access students have held the focus group.

“As always it is incredible kind for Val. Judith and Stephen to give up their time to come to Cornwall College Saltash and talk to the Access to HE Nursing students,” she added.

“The group found talking to them about their lives extremely helpful as they are studying Lifespan Development and this visit enables theory to be put into context.

“We are really proud of the students who are now nearing the end of their one year course and all have offers for nursing related degrees.”

Access to Nursing student, Ruth Martin, found it “a very useful and interesting session”.

“They were all very open and honest about difficult subjects including health and divorce. It has taken away a bit of my fear of getting old.”

Access to Nursing student, Tracy Kyffin, said it is “great to see they have no regrets and are so happy, they all had a great buzz.”

“It was really interesting to speak to them about their lives. I am going to Plymouth University in September, I would 100% recommend this course to others, it has been amazing.”

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