School of Health & Society 06.08.22

Nightingale nurse celebrates graduation at Salford

Nurse Nathan Harrison is celebrating his graduation this week after being one of many University of Salford students at the heart of the health care response as the NHS battled Covid-19.

Like many students, Nathan’s university journey was completely changed by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. During the crisis, he worked across A&E departments across Greater Manchester, ensuring that suspected Covid-19 patients got “the care they needed to get better”.

Nursing students were also given the chance to take part in paid extended clinical placements in order to support the health care front line. Nathan opted in for this opportunity and requested to work at the NHS Nightingale North West Hospital in Manchester, where he was in direct contact with coronavirus patients.

Nathan said: “I am so proud that I worked for and supported the NHS during the pandemic. It was amazing to be a part of the Covid-19 response as a student nurse and to make such an important contribution to getting through the darkest days of the crisis.”

During his time at university, Nathan also helped to run the University of Salford’s nursing society, supporting fellow students. The society created a Sharepoint site for all students to access information and guidance to support their practice during the pandemic and to ensure that they keep safe. They also rolled out a Covid-19 Peer Support Network on Facebook, to allow students to seek peer to peer support and share “the amazing things they are doing”, as well as setting up the hashtag #WeSalfordStNs, for students to show off their work and to find support.

Nathan still regularly uses Twitter and Facebook to share his passion for nursing. “Not many student nurses use Twitter as a professional platform, and I don’t think they realise the benefits of doing it. The Nursing and Midwifery Council Code says that we’re able to use social media - they actually support it for professional use.”

Things have come full circle for Nathan, who is currently working on the Respiratory Support Unit at Salford Royal where he completed a placement in his first year of university. He is still caring for Covid-19 positive patients, amongst other respiratory conditions. He explains: “I'm now also supervising student nurses from the University of Salford so I'm able to share my knowledge and experiences with them. 

“Nursing has definitely been the right calling for me and my mental health has never been so good now that I’ve got the job I’ve always wanted! So glad I’ve chased my dreams and get to make a difference with every shift.”