Nursing student helps create videos to support children with asthma across Greater Manchester

Categories: School of Health and Society

To celebrate International Nurses' Day (12 May), we spoke to student Amy (pictured below), who shared how her passion and personal experience helped her create educational videos to help children with asthma to learn to use respiratory equipment.

Mum-of-two Amy knew she wanted to become a nurse when her son was diagnosed with brittle asthma at just two years old.

Watching him go through several life-threatening asthma attacks, including one which ended up with him being intubated, Amy explained that becoming a children’s nurse to help other children living with asthma became her goal.

Amy says she was attracted to the University of Salford due to “the facilities they have on offer for nursing students”. She explains that: “The course has been beneficial for me in several ways, including having the support of my personal tutor offering advice and facilitating opportunities.”

One of these opportunities led to Amy being able to fulfil her dream of supporting children with asthma, before she has even qualified as a fully-fledged nurse. “I reached out to the asthma nurse specialist and asked if it would be possible for me to have a placement with them to gain a deeper understanding of their role. This was agreed by the nurse and after having a chat with my personal tutor, the university agreed too.”

In her final year, Amy was able to return to her placement with the asthma nurse once more, and went along to a diagnostic hub to look at the facilities offered. During the visit, Amy had the chance to speak to other healthcare professionals such as a service improvement manager for children’s and maternity care in Salford, as well as a clinical General Practitioner (GP) lead for Salford. One of the topics discussed was Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide (FeNO) testing, a medical technology used to aid in the diagnosis of asthma. 

Amy explains: “The meeting highlighted that FeNO testing would be beneficial to children living with asthma and for children who are yet to get a diagnosis. I mentioned that from my experience the test can be quite tricky, as my son had done it numerous times while participating in a research trial with the FeNO machine. We all agreed that a video would be useful to help explain how to do the testing.”

Following the meeting, the Greater Manchester Children and Young People’s Asthma Programme agreed to fund the project, providing £2,000 for the video to be created. Amy and the asthma nurse worked on developing two videos, one for children aged 5 – 10, which Amy’s son will star in, and another for children aged 10 – 16. 

The videos are scheduled to be filmed this month, and once produced will be shared across Greater Manchester and with other respiratory services. A link to the videos will also be on appointment reminders for patients who have a FeNO test booked. 

Amy tells us: “These videos will help ensure that each child knows what to expect when going into their FeNO appointment and so should relieve any anxiety they may have. They also include educational information to support children in gaining a deeper understanding of their asthma, supporting person-centred care. 

“In my final week on placement with the asthma nurse I delivered a presentation on FeNO to the Salford community nurses, specialist nurses and team leaders, highlighting what FeNO is and how it can be beneficial to patient care. I was really proud to be able to share this knowledge and awareness, on a subject which many people listening didn’t know much about.” 

While Amy reflects that training to become a nurse, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, has brought many challenges, it has also helped her develop as a person. “Looking back to my first day on this course, if I could give myself one piece of advice it would be to view challenges as opportunities. Throughout my time at Salford, I feel I have changed in many ways. I feel I’ve become more resilient and more empathetic to others.”

And where does Amy hope her career journey will take her in the future? “The course has given me a deeper understanding into why we as children’s nurses should be actively involving children and young people in their own care, by empowering them and ensuring they have the relevant knowledge and understanding of the services they receive.

“In 10 years, I hope to be in a role that helps improve the health and wellbeing of children who suffer with respiratory difficulties, empowering children to be at the centre of their own care.”

In recognition of her achievements, Amy’s lecturer, Miriam, nominated her in the Greater Manchester Health and Care Champion Awards 2023 and Amy received a letter of congratulations from Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, and Mark Fisher, Chief Executive of NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care.

For all press office enquiries please email communications@salford.ac.uk.