Paramedic and nursing students in training

Funding from Santander Universities means healthcare students are receiving a small gift of thanks from local businesses

10 August 2020

5 min read

175 healthcare students who worked on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic have been recognised with a gift of appreciation in a partnership between the University, Santander Universities and local businesses.

Student nurses, paramedics, and radiographers from the University of Portsmouth joined NHS hospitals in Hampshire, and as far afield as Sussex and Surrey over the past few months.

For many of those taking part, the placements provided vital real life experience of working for the NHS, which has helped them develop their own skills and practices. This has included working in Intensive Care Units, transporting patients for vital treatment, taking 111 calls, and joining haematology and oncology wards and more. 

The work has been more intense than it otherwise would be because many students have directly been working with patients affected by COVID-19, and by virtue of being frontline key workers were at risk themselves.

I was really keen to help and to get more front-line experience. It’s great to feel like you are part of the solution, I’d much rather be doing something to help than sitting at home doing nothing. It was a pleasant surprise to find I’d been invited to receive a voucher courtesy of Santander.

James Corney, 2nd year Paramedic Science BSc (Hons) students

Supporting both students and businesses

The University’s ongoing partnership with Santander Universities offers Portsmouth students financial, training and development opportunities - from start-up grants and training for student businesses, to bursaries for students facing hardship. With the coronavirus pandemic presenting new challenges, Santander Universities is repurposing and providing extra funding to support universities and local communities. 

To recognise students’ contribution to the NHS and local communities, funding has been gifted to offer £30 gift vouchers from two small businesses - Love Southsea and Strong Island Clothing Co. This gifting scheme means local businesses benefit from additional income during an uncertain economic time, while celebrating students’ hard work with a small gift.

Bernie Topham, Deputy Vice-Chancellor said: “We’re immensely proud of our students who took to the frontline in the battle against coronavirus. Their contributions are a credit to themselves and the University. Our thanks go to Santander Universities, whose generosity means we can recognise the work of these students in the NHS during extraordinary times.”

Matt Hutnell, Santander Universities UK Director that can be included: “Universities across the UK, such as the University of  Portsmouth, are doing some fantastic work to contribute to the UK’s effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, so we’re delighted to continue to support both students and local communities during this critical time.”

Tristan Savage, of Strong Island said: “We couldn’t be more proud of not only the NHS as a whole but the recognition of 175 Portsmouth healthcare students and the opportunity to say ‘Thank You’ in some small part with the help of Santander Universities. Strong Island was founded over 10 years ago to bring communities, businesses and people together.This opportunity to work alongside both Portsmouth University, Santander Universities and local students with an exclusive range of products including unique t-shirts in a combined NHS & UoP colour is an honour.” 

It’s rewarding even though it can be really distressing at times. At some points I found it tough mentally, seeing patients in the state they were in is something you cannot forget. But the staff have been so supportive and nurturing even during the peak of COVID - they took us under their wings and guided us throughout. I wanted to do this so I could continue my studies but also so I could do something to contribute no matter how small it feels it is at times. The gift was a lovely gesture and something small that makes a big difference.

Emma Collar, Third-year BN (Hons) Adult Nursing student