Boot camp for student nurses

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More than 300 student nurses from the University of Dundee are battling through a unique military boot camp this month with the 225 (Scottish) Medical Regiment.

Training with some of Scotland’s Army reservists, students from both the Dundee and Kirkcaldy campuses are developing their team-working, leadership skills and physical and emotional resilience at Oliver Barracks, Dalkeith Road in Dundee and in Glenrothes.

The voluntary programme, called Exercise Team Spirit, has seen first-year nursing students work in small teams to test a range of skills including mental agility, response time, observational skills, physical ability, intelligence and general knowledge.

Tom McConnachie, Lecturer at the School of Nursing and organiser of Exercise Team Spirit said: “Teamwork, communication, decision-making and leadership are core attributes necessary in newly-qualified nurses. Students also have to develop both physical and emotional resilience to face the challenge of working within busy clinical environments.

“Exercise Team Spirit is designed to help students identify and develop teamwork and leadership skills early in their educational programme, and give them an understanding of how a team is led, how roles within that team are determined, and how to improve their communication and problem-solving.”

Stephen Tee, a Staff Sergeant with 225, said: “It makes complete sense for us, a medical regiment, to be working with nursing students, as our skill sets are very similar.

“The command tasks we chose for the students participating in Exercise Team Spirit are a mixture of the enjoyable and physical. So far the students have been brilliant -- and have exceeded our expectations. Leadership and teamwork exercises form the bedrock of everything we do in the Army, and the nurses have been good as any soldier.”

Exercise Team Spirit is a collaboration between the University’s School of Nursing, Institute of Sport and Exercise, Student Support Services, and the army’s 225 (Scottish) Medical Regiment and events are taking place into early December.