Yesterday I was at York University to say hello to the new student nurses as part of their Welcome Day.
My daughter Sarah was in their very shoes a few years ago – she qualified from here as a nurse last year. When Sarah was going through her training, we were so shocked at how little training she had on dementia that I made friends with the lecturers and it’s because of that friendship that these students are streaks ahead of many nurse training courses as they have more training on dementia than ever before. So this is my second year of being part of the course.
Sarah drove me their and we’d only been in reception a couple of minutes when Rob, one of the lecturers, came out to meet us. His face was beaming as he knew he’d earned his Gold star by also having a cuppa tea in hand – perfect start.
We chatted for a while about his new found family friend – a fabulous springer spaniel. We almost got carried away looking at the photos and forgot why we were there!. Someone else came out to find us and said they were waiting for us………🙄
We walked into the lecture theatre to be met by 196 fresh new, eager nurse students.
I love working with students, especially for their enthusiasm, lack of baggage and eagerness to learn. They really can make a difference to the future as to how people with dementia are treated in a clinical setting.
Rob introduced me but had forgotten to put the picture up on the screen of me and my daughters so I immediately gave him a C for his first assignment, much to the delight of the students……..
Today’s talk was a brief introduction to my world and I described what it’s like for me living with dementia. I spoke of misconceptions and for them never to judge people:
“You know I have dementia – it’s not a physical disability so I don’t look any different from all of you – except a lot more grey hairs and wrinkles. We often call it the invisible disability. People with dementia are often thought of as taking up beds solely on the elderly wards but we rarely get admitted because of our dementia so we could be on any ward or in any department.
And I ended by asking them to imagine…..:
“Finally – put yourself in my shoes for a moment……imagine yourselves watching your most favouratist movie in the world……….the one you can watch over and over again………the difference is, you can remember what happens………I can watch my favourite film over and over again but can never remember the ending……it likes watching a new film time and time again…….”
I usually use watching Great British Bake off as an example but wasn’t sure whether they’d be fans like me………🙄
They all seemed very attentive and were warm and enthusiastic with their applause. I’m really looking forward to seeing them all again in November for a more in depth talk and discussion……..
A wonderful morning……..