Sensory deficit day for nursing students in Belfast
The School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s University Belfast organised its first sensory deficit day for first year undergraduate nursing students. Nurse lecturers Karen McCutcheon and Susan Carlisle recognised a shortfall in the provision of awareness training for vision and hearing loss in undergraduate nurse training. Both lecturers held strong views on the importance of including awareness sessions on vision and hearing loss in the nursing curriculum. They also both agreed that these sessions would have more impact if they included personal testimonies from people who are affected by a sensory deficit.
Contact was made with the RNIB and Action on Hearing Loss and both organisations were delighted to become involved. RNIB started the day off and provided students with information regarding the ECLO service and also explained the variety of guiding aids available. Charlene Brunty gave a very candid and personal account of how she has had to adapt with vision loss and the impact it has made on her daily living. The day was closed by John Carberry the director of Action on Hearing Loss who is himself registered deaf. John also gave a very moving account of the struggles and challenges that face someone who is deaf.
Approximately 250 students attended the day and the evaluations taken following the event were extremely positive with many students commenting on the insight they had gained from listening to the speakers and their lived experiences. Some students have requested a desire to learn more and want to self fund and engage in smaller awareness group training.
By developing collaborative working relationships with service users different skills and needs can be brought forward. Organisations such as RNIB and Action on Hearing Loss, can bring insights and perspectives to health that education providers should embrace. Healthcare educators have a high level of professional expertise in their field, by combining this with the service users’ insight, the potential exists to advance and improve the quality of healthcare delivery. Karen and Susan both hope that by including this type of event early on in nurse training that it will embed the core values necessary for nurses to provide appropriate care for all patients with sensory a deficit.