University of Sunderland nurses set to join NHS frontline in the fight against coronavirus

Newly-qualified nurses on Wearside are preparing to plunge headfirst into the battle against Coronavirus.

From this week, up to 40 students who trained through at the University of Sunderland, will take up front line roles at hospitals across the North East.

It will see them join ward teams for the first time since completing their training, as the NHS faces an 'unprecedented need for more healthcare workers' in the struggle to contain the spread of COVID-19.

"Every one of our nurses has now been employed by the hospital trust they have been training with," said Gill Maw, team leader and principal lecturer for undergraduate Nursing and Paramedic Science at the university.

"They officially started their new roles on Tuesday 24 March and we are very proud of them at this particularly challenging time."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said more than 35,000 extra NHS staff would be helping fight against Covid-19, including retired doctors, nurses and final years students joining frontline services.

Matt Hancock announced that more than 35,000 extra NHS staff would be helping fight against Covid-19 Credit: PA

The latest group to pass through the course at Sunderland is only the second-ever cohort to graduate from the university's School of Nursing.

Their ages range from 21 - 41, includes two males nurses, and their training included study alongside the university's trainee pharmacists, paramedics and biomedical scientists, plus student medics from the new medical school.

As well as the Sunderland Royal Hospital and South Tyneside District Hospital, the recruits will also be heading to Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary and Freeman Hospital, as well as facilities in Northumberland, County Durham and Teesside, among others.

Sue Brent, head of the university's School of Nursing and Health Sciences, said: "We congratulate all of our April 2017 nurses who have completed their studies, and will now be entering the NHS workforce.

"We are so proud of all their hard work and effort and I'm sure they will make a huge impact in their new roles during this difficult and challenging time for the NHS.

"Thanks must also go to our positive and proactive Undergraduate nursing team, who are wholly committed to delivering high quality, job-ready graduates who will make a real difference to patient care."

Yesterday, the UK was put under lockdown by the government in an attempt to staunch the spread of the virus and protect the NHS from being overwhelmed by a surge in patient numbers.