Studies during coronavirus pandemic help Wigan nurses to further their careers

Three Wigan nursing apprentices who gained their skills by working on the frontline during the pandemic have been hailed “heroes”.

Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 2:49 pm

Michael Maguire, Doreen Holmes and Gillian Fields are all now qualified nurses, having become the first apprentices to graduate from the University of Bolton.

They all worked within Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) while doing their studies.

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Doreen Holmes

Clare Hough, senior lecturer in nursing and programme lead for their course in the university’s school of nursing and midwifery, said: “I am delighted by the two milestones that we have reached in the last few months with WWL.

“First, the qualification of our first graduate nurses linked to the trust and then shortly afterwards the qualification of our first ever nursing apprentices from our school of nursing.”

It was a particularly special moment for Gillian as she has worked in healthcare for two decades.

She said: “I would like to say how lucky I feel to have been given the opportunity to top up my foundation degree after almost 20 years working as a band four.

Gillian Fields

“I have enjoyed every step of the course and the support I received from the university and Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust has been fantastic.”

Doreen said: “This has been a fantastic opportunity as a nurse apprentice and be able to develop into a registered nurse.

“It has been a pleasure and I feel so very proud to have achieved this award from the University of Bolton.”

Michael said: “It has been a tricky two years that I wouldn’t have been able to get through without the help and support from the university, so thank you to all at the University of Bolton.”

Trish Houghton, head of the university’s school of nursing and midwifery, said: “We have worked in partnership with Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh to be able to offer a registered nursing degree apprenticeship programme to enable their existing workforce to develop their nursing careers.

“The team and I are extremely proud of all our students.

“This is especially so over the past 18 months, as our students have been working hard with their studies as well as supporting the NHS during the pandemic.

“This is a huge achievement for them and we wish them all the luck in their nursing careers.”

Clare added: “The last 18 months has been such a difficult time for everyone, but particularly for student nurses who have undertaken placements on the NHS frontline during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“These students have risen to the challenge like heroes and I could not be prouder.”

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