Saturday the 26th of January saw the third of a series of 6 Health Science Masterclasses take place at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Trust’s ICENI Centre in Colchester. We’re delighted to be working with the team at ESNEFT to inspire and inform year 9 students from schools in Colchester and Clacton about careers in the health sector in Essex.
The rising population in Essex and increase in life expectancy, rapidly advancing technologies that are changing the way health is managed and the difficulties the sector faces locally in terms of recruiting the right people with the right skills have all contributed to work, through the Essex Education and Industry STEM Programme, to showcase jobs and career pathways in Health and Social Care in Essex. Over the last few years we’ve worked with Anglia Ruskin University to deliver a ‘Developing Careers in Health’ day, with the University of Essex and the Britten Partnership to run Health and Social Care ‘Conferences’ and we’re now delighted to be working with ESNEFT to put on these Saturday morning sessions for local young people.
The ESNEFT team have put together an amazing programme for the 6 weeks and have invited a range of professionals from across the Hospital to lead each Masterclass, using a mixture of presentations and affording students the opportunity to ‘have a go’ in hands-on, practical sessions. We are hugely grateful to everyone at the Hospital for giving up their time at the weekend to pass on their knowledge and expertise and to share their personal stories about how they came to pursue their chosen careers with our Essex students.
Session one began with an introduction from Peter Cook, Head of Innovation at ESNEFT, and then a talk by Sharmila Gupta, Surgeon at Colchester Hospital, setting the scene for the following six sessions. Students then made their way over to the main Hospital building to get ‘scrubbed up’ before heading into one of the Hospital’s operating theatres for an overview – given by Wendy Hobbs, Karen Briton and Paul Lawrence from ESNEFT’s Education Team - of the theatre, the equipment used and some of the procedures carried out there.
Session two focused on the role of the Anaesthetist and we were delighted to have Simon Dixon, Consultant Anaesthetist at ESNEFT, open the Masterclass with a talk about his career to date and his job at the Hospital. Students were then taken upstairs, with half the group benefiting from a ‘Careers in Theatres’ session and half going into the Theatre Skills Lab with Simon Dixon for a practical session around intubation, and then the two groups swapping halfway through the remaining session.
Session three surrounded the role of the Surgeon and Theatre Support Worker, and this time students heard from Jeremy Parker, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, and Gaia Falcone about their respective roles at ESNEFT. The Year 9’s then enjoyed a session around suturing and knot-tying, as well as heading back into the Theatre Skills Lab to gain some insight into theatre operations and hip/knee replacement surgery.
Over the next two Saturday morning sessions students will be focusing on Radiography and the role of the Recovery Nurse, before students come back for the last Masterclass where they’ll be taken through the huge variety of careers in the Health sector. At this last session parents will also join us, to hear about what students have been up to throughout the six weeks and to see their children receive their attendance certificate, presented by Dame Clare Marx, former Chair of the Royal College of Surgeons and the first woman to hold this esteemed position.
We’re incredibly thankful to ESNEFT staff for affording young people the opportunity to gain such amazing insight into careers in the NHS. We’ve already had fantastic feedback from parents and students about the quality and value of the experience they’re benefiting from each week and can’t wait for each of the final three sessions. We'll be talking with the team at the Trust about future joint-working and follow-up activities for students attending these wonderful sessions.