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Inspiring Royal Nursing Cadets in the NHS

21 December 2023

Four cohorts of Royal Nursing Cadets aged between 16 and 18 were funded by NHS England for the South West. These cohorts aimed to inspire young people to consider a career in mental health and learning disability nursing roles and prepare them for potential future positions in healthcare.

These cohorts were located in areas that faced the greatest challenges in recruiting staff in mental health and learning disability settings. The cadets participated in 20 hours of workplace experience through a combination of theoretical and placement experience in the specified setting. They were trained in topics such as safeguarding, confidentiality, and infection prevention and control. Face-to-face inductions were also conducted at assessment centres, in addition to a wide range of clinical settings at local trusts.

There were some challenges as some settings did not accept work experience for students under the age of 18. However, the outcomes were positive, and feedback showed that the cadets enjoyed their experience:

“I enjoyed the people and the involvement with the NHS – they made it memorable.”

“The experience of the staff really helps the sessions to feel more like real life and that what we're learning can be used in a practical manner.”

With additional cohorts in place, it is important to expose more cadets to experience what it is like for healthcare professionals working in healthcare settings in the South West.

The team is delighted to see the cadets involved in the programme leaving with a newfound appreciation for the NHS and the people they met.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact the RCN Cadets team.