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Collaboration and commitment at the heart of RGU student body

Tuesday 22 December 2020

Student Test Centre WEB
Robert Gordon University students working in the RGU Covid-19 test centre have shown huge commitment and drive to ensure their fellow students can return home as safely as possible for Christmas.

The RGU Covid-19 Test Centre is operational within an isolated zone in the Sir Ian Wood Building until December 18 and is being run by an ‘army of students’ who are led by Laura Chalmers, Strategic Lead for Collaborative and Interprofessional Practice and Filippo Antoniazzi, director of student life.

“The student body involved in the test centre are moulding the operation here”, said Laura Chalmers. “These students are working for the benefit of their fellow students, treating this work very much like a healthcare placement and trying very hard to ensure it is a positive experience for people who want to come for testing.

“They are an integral part of the test centre, showing a huge drive for quality. Their willingness to collaborate and learn and share their expertise – while gaining clinical experience and vital transferable skills – is so heartening to see.”

Students who wish to travel home for the festive period have been encouraged to take two tests and travel within a day of the second test. They are known as lateral-flow tests and involves taking a swab from the mouth and nose. The aim of this testing is to provide reassurance that returning students have been tested twice before they leave on vacation.

Around 60 healthcare students, from RGU’s School of Health Sciences and the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedic Practice, have signed up for shifts with 25 students working each shift.

Laura added: “There are academics on site all day to ensure clinical governance and to provide advice and support. A main strategic driver of the university is collaboration and the students are doing that seamlessly with us and with each other - I know they are supporting this essential project and the value they bring to the operation is huge. We are very proud of them – they have been asked to do a job they have never done before – that none of us have done before – but they are delivering this service in such a professional manner.”

Michael Third, a third year Sports Science student at RGU, is one of the students working at the test centre in the lead up to Christmas.

He said: “This is such a valuable experience, working in a professional clinical environment like this may help me in my future career. The whole site is really safe and quick and we are working hard to ensure people feel comfortable and safe – students being tested are in and out in around six minutes and they can have their results within the hour directly from the NHS on their phone.

“Being part of this shows that you can not only work in a clinical setting but that you have the skills to be responsible for other people, for handling sensitive data, as well as learning how to communicate, how to manage tasks, and many skills that will benefit me in the future.  It’s been such a great project to be involved in – the whole aim of the test centre is to ensure the students are being safe but to also give other students the opportunity to gain experience has been really valuable.”

Second year Midwifery student Georgia Wallace said the experience has not only helped her further her clinical experience but build her communication skills and confidence.

“I thought this would be a good experience for my career but also help me develop my communication skills within a multidisciplinary team and help me build confidence in these types of settings”, she said.

“It has also been really beneficial to meet other students and to get to know the university community more. I already feel like I have built confidence and have learned so much – we are all learning from each other and our peers every shift. It feels great that what I am doing is helping other people, it is helping students get home safely.

“They allow us to be ourselves, we are still students and that is taken into consideration. The academics and leads are supporting us in every aspect from teaching us what to do, to constantly checking we’re safe and our PPE is correct but also with things like ice breakers and mixing up our groups so we’re meeting and working with people we would never have met otherwise.

 “It’s nice to have a bit normality in these difficult and uncertain times, if you have been struggling with mental health or anxiety, then it really helps to get involved with things like this to meet new people and broaden your friendship groups and we are all doing that here, while gaining really valuable experience.”

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