Biggar High School's Dementia Day

As part of our final year at UWS adult nursing, students need to take part in an initiative that which involves interactively speaking to a  community group or group of children which covers health promotion and awareness.

OnThursday 9th February Megan Berkley, Nicole Black, Coleen Barkey, Hannah Watson and Danielle Anderson went to Biggar High School to talk to the 3rd, 4th and 5th-year pupils about dementia.

The University supplied the students with one of the Dementia “Class in a bag’s”  which contains props to help aid the student nurses to get their message over to the students interactively while highlighting to the students themselves the importance of health promotion, the value of teamwork, leadership skills and professional development.

Megan writes:

“… we wanted to create an awareness of what dementia is, how it affects the brain, what we do as student nurses to help and care with those with dementia and we also spoke about the different types of dementia. We thoroughly enjoyed working as a team and wanted to gain a greater insight into our topic before we went out to teach, so we took it upon ourselves to contact Alzheimer’s Scotland who gave us a great insight into this awful condition. They also suggested that we participate in the Dementia Friends course in advance of our day at Biggar. This course helped us understand a bit more about dementia and the small things you can do to make a big difference to people with the condition. This could be as simple as helping someone find the right bus or being patient in a till queue when someone with memory difficulties is taking longer to pay.”

Audrey Bremnar, a community engagement worker with Alzheimer’s Scotland delivered the dementia friends session to our 5 students, hoping to create better awareness and encourage as many people as she can to overcome the stigma of dementia and treat those who have it with dignity and respect.

Megan continues:

“It was a great experience for the five of us to get involved in and we were given dementia friends badges which we will wear with pride as we spread the word. “Class in a bag” was a very successful project for all of us because it meant that we all had to work together as a team, deciding who was saying what, making up a power point, picking up dementia books and health promotional leaflets from the local Health Promotion Centre at Law House. . We all had a part to play.

This module also made each of us move out of our comfort zones when we had to present to a big class. Nerve-wracking as it was, we did find that the pupils enjoyed the interactivity and were given opportunities to ask many questions. The interactive stations we had where the children had to rotate around worked really well, we had a reminiscing table with a dementia doll, old photographs and other objects, a table to talk more about the brain and how it becomes affected and we also had a table with different glasses the children could wear which would impair their vision and headsets with white noise, so it gave an idea of some of the challenges someone with dementia may face. On the whole, we found that our dementia workshop at Biggar High School went really well and it was great to get positive feedback from the students too, some of who were planning to go on to study medicine. Almost all found the class very informative and interesting.”