NURSING holds no more secrets for sixth formers keen to join the profession as they experienced the job directly from the ward at the Great Western Hospital.

Thirteen students from Swindon and beyond made hospital history at the very first Dare To Nurse course, which saw them get a unique insight into the day-to-day work of its nursing team.

The two-day programme, which is due to end today, follows a similar course introducing pupils to medicine, the Dare To Doctor project.

“It will give them valuable experience,” said Claire Baxter, the training and development manager at GWH.

“Often students have not had any experience at all by the time they start university.

“Some of the students on the course know they want to be nurses so they are doing it for the experience and others think they might want to and are here to dip their toes in it.”

In the face of the current nursing shortage, the course may be a means to inspire students to return to GWH after qualifying, she said.

“Universities have now increased the number of places available,” she said. “Now we want more people to take up these places in the future. Students might apply to local university and decide to come back to us in the future.

“It’s a lovely job, full of rewards and challenges. It’s unique: you can share things with strangers. You cry with strangers, laugh with strangers. No two days are the same. And you are making a difference.”

In just one morning, the course proved to 18-year-old Josh Talbot, of Westlea, that he had made the right choice in decideing to pursue a nursing career.

“I am hoping to get into adult nursing and maybe be a nurse practitioner; that’s the plan,” said the New College student.

“The course has confirmed that that’s what I want to do.

“Other people in the family are in the nursing profession and I am a volunteer at the hospital. That’s what I want to do. Nursing is very rewarding.”

For Alice Garnett, 18, also a New College student, Dare To Nurse was the ideal way to choose between midwifery and nursing training.

“I would like to be a midwife or a nurse, I’m not sure,” said Alice, of Toothill.

“The course has been very interesting. It’s good to learn what it would be like to be a nurse before university. To me, it seems like a privileged and rewarding career.”