Creating practice learning environments within care homes – increasing student nurse placement capacity 

Sarah Kingdom Mills

Background to the Project

There are approximately 25,000 beds within social care and 13,000 beds within health care. We have 2,202 student nurses (2021/22) with annual projected increases; all of whom require clinical placements for 50% of their nursing programmes. With the increased numbers of students, we need increased numbers of placement opportunities. To date there are minimal numbers of students who access a social care placement. Whilst health care placements are constantly over capacity.

The Project

The care home education facilitator will liaise with social care; including local authority and the independent sector, to engage in discussions around care homes supporting placements for a range of students. Looking initially at increasing student nurse capacity, then embarking on the care homes, facilitating interprofessional practice learning environments. Having a placement within a care home will develop the students understanding of the necessity for health and social care to work in collaboration managing the care needs of service users.

How this will be achieved

The project will focus on developing the care homes in-line with the Nursing and Midwifery 2018 Education Standards and the Once for Wales 2020 national processes. It will showcase the role of the care home education facilitator as a key stakeholder in developing care homes as practice learning environments. It will work with local authorities and independent sectors to train the staff teams in the roles and responsibilities of practice supervisors/practice assessors, support the educational audits and development of student information packs. The project also needs to introduce the concept of social care placements to the students as they embark on their programmes.

Anticipated benefits

After experiencing health and social care placements, the students should have an understanding of how they can work seamlessly together. We will have a future workforce that has the knowledge of health and social care, which will benefit the service users as they can be afforded the best possible care in the best possible place, with skilled staff to support their care needs.