THE UK-wide strategy to roll out vaccines to prevent and minimise the impact of Covid-19 has provided a unique placement learning opportunity to nursing students from the University of South Wales (USW).

They're working with USW partner health and care organisations that are integral to the process, as well as continuing with their studies. At the same time many are working on the front line, caring for individuals and families affected.

Among those helping with the roll out is Abi Ormrod, a 33-year-old mum-of-two from Newport and a second-year Adult Nursing student at USW.

South Wales Argus: Abi Ormrod

Abi Ormrod

While on placement with Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB), Ms Ormrod received focused training to ensure she could develop the knowledge, skills and understanding to support, under supervision, the roll-out across Gwent.

“We initially had to do a week of intense online training to understand about the different vaccines, how they work, and how they are administered,” she said.

“Then we had to do training at the mass vaccination centre at Cwmbran Stadium. That was to see how it all works, to understand the process behind it, make sure the training was up to date, and was adequate enough for what was needed.”

Although she received training in giving the vaccines, student nurses were still getting close guidance and supervision. This has included working with a range of highly experienced nurses and senior members of the health board’s nursing team.

“We have been able to administer the vaccines ourselves as long as we had a registrant supervising us” Ms Ormrod explained.


“As part of experienced community vaccination teams, we have also been going out to other hospitals to vaccinate patients, which has meant further valuable experience for us.”

Normally students would not be able administer vaccines as they fall within a legal framework that prevents them from actively participating. However, the scale of the pandemic and the logistical challenge in delivering the vaccination programme resulted in a new legal framework called a National Protocol. This meant that non-registered staff could be involved if trained in accordance with national standards and supervised by a registrant. This formed the basis of the unique placement for USW students within ABUHB.

Linda Jones, professional lead nurse for education development regulation at ABUHB, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the biggest vaccination programme we’ve seen in our lifetime.

“This has, of course, brought about many challenges. However, it has also offered many opportunities that wouldn’t usually arise.”

Dr Ian Mathieson, head of school of care sciences at USW added: “Our students have been at the very forefront of the response to the pandemic, often in really challenging situations, so it has been it has been really important for students to be involved in supporting the vaccination programme and keep our local communities well in order to beat this dreadful virus.”