Members of East Kent Mencap with nursing students at Christ Church, Canterbury – October 2013
Students of Social work, Nursing, Mental Health and Criminology at Canterbury Christ Church University have received a number of visits from members of East Kent Mencap since 2012, establishing firm links between the two organisations.
Supporting People Enablement Co-ordinator, Suzanne Derham explains: ‘We had two students on work placements within our resource hub and housing unit here in Margate– one of which suggested contacting tutors at the Uni, due to a need for the involvement of people with learning disabilities in student education.’
Cathy Bernal, Senior Lecturer in Learning Disability at Christ Church invited members of EKM to get involved with offering students the opportunity to discuss their experiences of living with a learning disability:
Cathy: ‘The visits have been astoundingly successful. We evaluated the simulated hospital admission at the end of each day with both students and our visitors, and have received nothing but positive and constructive comments. The students have felt that their experience has helped to dispel anxieties about patients with learning disabilities, assisted them to see the individual and not the disability, and to develop their communication skills.’
Suzanne: ‘EKM members could talk to the students and students could ask questions, most of them never having the opportunity before to meet and speak to people with a learning disability. It was also a chance for members to speak about the things that affect them and find out what student life is like in Canterbury.
‘I was proud to see members speaking out, sharing honest, shocking or funny incidents– It’s important for the students to hear these real-life situations. To think that these students will go on in future to be nurses, police officers and work in all areas of society– this experience will change the way they perceive people with a learning disability.’
‘The Student Nurses seemed quite anxious. They seemed nervous to begin with because they didn’t know how to talk to people with a Learning Disability. We talked to the Student Nurses and we got to know them and we all relaxed’ – Joanne Coupland, member of EKM
‘East Kent Mencap visited our hate crime lecture in February 2014 . I enjoyed the lecture and hearing from EKM members, who were the loveliest people I have ever come across. To hear that they had been victims of hate crime is so awful, but made me happy to know that they do so much and really make the most of their lives– I hope they know how inspiring they are’ Rosie – Christ Church Student
Cathy: ‘We want to develop both the number of sessions that are held each year (making the simulated hospital admissions available to all our Adult nursing students, not just a select few), and their length.
Ideally, we’d like to turn them into 2 day affairs, with a longer visit from members on one day, and more extensive preparation of the students on the other day.’
Well done to all EKM members who shared their stories and thank you to all students & lecturers we have met so far!