Teenagers challenge nurse training hopefuls

Interviewers Jessica Leishon and Jessica Griffiths, both 16, of Treorchy Comprehensive, with teacher Laura Clarke, from Bryntirion Comprehensive in Bridgend. Neil Gibson, March 2017

Interviewers Jessica Leishon and Jessica Griffiths, both 16, of Treorchy Comprehensive, with teacher Laura Clarke, from Bryntirion Comprehensive in Bridgend.


PROPSECTIVE nursing degree students had a bit of a shock when they were interviewed for a place at the University of South Wales (USW) – there were teenagers asking the questions.

As part of USW’s commitment to getting a wide range of health service users on the panel questioning the next intake of nursing students, pupils from St David’s Catholic College in Cardiff, Treorchy Comprehensive School, and Bryntirion Comprehensive School in Bridgend, all take part in the interview process.

During three interview days in January, February and March each year, more than 700 applicants are put through their paces by the teenagers, as well as professionals already working in the health sector, and senior members of teaching staff at USW’s School of Care Sciences.

Teacher Laura Clarke - pictured, below left, with the students from Bryntirion Comprehensive in Bridgend - who is head of health and social care at Bryntirion, takes pupils from her school to the interview days, and also attends the other sessions.

“This is my third year of being involved in the interview days, and it’s been a great way of getting some wider experience that I can pass on to my students,” she said.

Laura Clarke (left) with the students from Bryntirion Comprehensive in Bridgend. Neil Gibson, March 2017“It’s great for the sixth-form students as it shows them what is involved in the interview process. This experience will better prepare them for their own interviews during year 13.

“Not many 16 or 17-year-olds would have had the opportunity to develop interview skills, so this experience is invaluable for them. 

"I enjoy supporting USW and I, as well as my students, will always look forward to the opportunity to be part of the interview process." 

Maria Parry, USW’s Nursing Course Leader, said the support from the schools is invaluable.

“Nursing students will encounter patients of all different ages when they are training, and when they leave USW and start work,” she said.

“Service users don’t fit into a certain category, they are of all ages, so we felt it was important to have younger people on the interview panel so they can ask questions that are relevant to their age.

“The support we have received from the schools has been invaluable, and I can’t thank the volunteers enough for giving up their time to help us.”  

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