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A day of reflection: Learning during the pandemic


Ian Cooper, Deputy Course Leader for the University of Wolverhampton's Nursing Associate Degree Apprenticeship, reflects on a year of learning during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A year has now nearly passed since we went into national lockdown and thus a year of online teaching for the lecturing staff and also online learning for students. Microsoft teams and Zoom have become our friends and also the concept of Big Blue Button, all not in my vocabulary this time last year.

Undoubtedly the Apprentices have been through an emotional rollercoaster over the last year. From the pandemic affecting their work and then being sent on a break in learning from April to July would have undoubtedly made many question what was is the point and discontinuing on the course  must have crossed their minds.

Since restarting back in July I have been astounded with the Apprentices resilience and attitude to restarting their learning. Online learning has been a real challenge:-

  • The frustrations of logging in then technology failing.
  • Many never having engaged in online learning before and having to adapt, many home schooling at the same time.
  • The increased work demands with short staffing, isolation shielding and the thought of the danger they were putting themselves in managing the pandemic on the front line.

Yet the students have all engaged, shared their experiences and I have felt a real sense of the strength that each individual brought to the collective group making the team work bond stronger even though we haven’t been able to meet face to face.

I have no doubt that the pandemic has brought so many challenges and upset to so many of the Apprentices. Nevertheless so many lessons have been learnt which means the Nursing Associate Apprentices will have developed new skills that will benefit both themselves in their career and ultimately improve patient care.

For my part, it has been an honour and a privilege to see the Apprentices grow and develop. I am so proud to have taught them and wish them all the best in their future careers


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