Background Traditionally, hospice clinical staff are recruited from acute and community settings. Following a period of significant staff turnover it became apparent that, in keeping with national trends, this pool of experienced staff was diminishing. A decision was made to actively pursue diverse areas of recruitment.
Aims To approach local colleges of further education delivering health care studies at level 2 and 3 and to offer work experience within a hospice setting. It was hoped that this would encourage younger members of staff into hospice services.
Method The local college was approached, and a presentation given to all health care students offering placements in the day services, in-patient and community settings. Eight students requested to undertake their 50 hour placement at the hospice. An Induction Day was delivered including an overview of palliative care, safeguarding and practical care. A pre- and post- questionnaire was given to all students and feedback was sought from the college.
Results With support from tutors, each student was allocated a ‘day release.’ Only one student was placed in each clinical area at a time and with the high number of students and college holidays, the placements were spread over a five months period. A total of six students completed the placement with an overall attendance rate of 69%. Six out of 12 questionnaires were returned.
Conclusion It may be more beneficial to complete each placement over a seven-day period. This may improve student engagement, give greater support and, where possible, encourage continuity of relationships with staff and patients. Good working relationships with the college are essential to ensure students are supported. Although no new staff were recruited, it has been agreed that we will continue to work with the college offering placements, encouraging and recruiting students who show an aptitude for hospice work.
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