NURSES at Borders General Hospital flung open the ward doors last week to encourage the next generation of health workers.

A total of 10 school pupils took part in the annual Nursing and Midwifery Taster Day.

As well as some hands-on experience the fourth, fifth and sixth year students were told about the various career pathways they can take into healthcare.

Four nurses and a midwife, who all practise at NHS Borders, spoke about their roles in adult, child, mental health and learning disability nursing as well as midwifery.

The pupils then heard about healthcare opportunities from representatives of local care homes, Borders College, the NHS Borders volunteering programme and the Nurse Bank.

They were also given resuscitation training and a tour of Borders General Hospital.

The day was drawn to a close by Claire Pearce, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Acute Services, who spoke about why young people should consider nursing as a career choice.

Claire said: “Nursing is a richly rewarding and diverse career – it can lead you into a range of roles such as a consultant midwife, a dementia nurse consultant or a nurse endoscopist to name but a few.

"I have been a nurse for over 30 years and still feel privileged to have the opportunity to care for patients at some of the best and worse times in their lives.

"No-one wants to feel poorly or vulnerable, and that’s why it is such an honour to be a nurse and have the opportunity to support people during those very difficult times.

“The aim of our Nursing and Midwifery Taster Day is to give young people who are interested in a healthcare career a glimpse behind the curtain and a chance to speak candidly to practising nurses and midwives about what to expect in the profession.

"We would like to encourage these young people to follow a career in healthcare by training, qualifying and coming to work for us.”

NHS Borders has been working with nine Borders high schools to highlight healthcare, and in particular nursing and midwifery, as a viable career option through our attendance at careers evenings, World of Work days and information sessions during school time. The health board also offers guidance on academic subject choices to ensure that pupils have the appropriate qualifications to pursue nursing and midwifery training in further education once they leave school.

Kirsten Thomas, practice education facilitator with NHS Borders, added: “In partnership with the Developing Young Workforce Initiative, NHS Borders successfully delivered its second annual taster day for Borders region high school students in years four, five and six who have expressed keen interest in a career either in nursing or midwifery.

"A full programme of speakers shared passion for their specialities and the day included a challenging simulation scenario and hospital tour. Evaluation identified that all the students highly valued the day.”