Student nurse praised for actions during care home fire

"I just went into pilot mode and tried to evacuate the elderly residents from the building as quickly as possible."

Kiran Arif, BSc (Hons) Nursing Practice (Adult)

A student nurse has been praised for her efforts to help elderly residents during a fire at a care home.

Kiran Arif, studying BSc (Hons) Nursing Practice (Adult) at Staffordshire University, was visiting Nethermore Care Home in Rugeley last month when the blaze started.

“We thought it was a test but soon realised that it was a real emergency.” explained Kiran, 21, who lives in Stafford.

“I just went into pilot mode and tried to evacuate the elderly residents from the building as quickly as possible. Many of them have poor mobility so we had to physically help them to get to safety.”

Kiran, who was on a work placement with the Community Intervention Service at Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership NHS Trust (SSOTP), worked alongside Advanced Nurse Practitioner at SSOTP Mark Danesi and care home staff to evacuate the residents before fire crews arrived at the scene.

They then helped to comfort the residents, keeping them warm and providing hot drinks, while the fire was safely extinguished.

Nethermore Care Home took to social media to thank Kiran and Mark afterwards, in a post which said: “They helped support our residents in a time of distress and even helped serve cups of tea and sandwiches after the event while they were asked to stay by the fire crew to be accounted for.”

The pair's actions were featured in the Cannock Community Intervention Service newsletter and the Fire Service also praised the care home and staff for their professionalism.

Helen Ashwood, Course Leader for Adult Nursing at Staffordshire University, commented: “Kiran worked beyond expectations to evacuate residents when the fire broke out. Her quick thinking and ability to remain calm under pressure are exactly the kind of qualities that make a great nurse and I'm sure has a bright future ahead.”

Kiran, who is in the first year of her degree, added: “I'm really enjoying the course so far. Being on placement and experiencing real-life situations like this helps to give us the practical skills that we’ll need when we graduate.”

Staffordshire University delivers a range of healthcare degrees at Centres of Excellence in Healthcare Education, based in Stafford and Shrewsbury, and has recently been shortlisted for the Nurse Education Provider of the Year (Pre-registration) prize in the Nursing Times Student Awards.

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