College students spread the ‘feel-good’ factor at local hospital

Patients at Russells Hall Hospital, Dudley are being spoilt by Dudley College students who visit the busy hospital to offer free hair and beauty treatments. The students have been making their weekly visits since September and have helped lots of sick people feel better and look good.

The visits were originally part of a collaboration between Dudley College, Russells Hall Hospital and the 'Kissing it Better' charity. The partnership was immediately supported by the college as staff and students felt it was a great cause and they were giving something back to the community. Once the relationship between the hospital and college was cemented the charity took a step back and the visits are now part of the students' college timetable.
Every week 6-10 students meet at Russells Hall Hospital and offer patients, and sometimes visitors, the chance to have a complimentary treatment, blow-dry, trim, brushing, hair straightening, plaiting, manicure, hand and arm massage or mini facial. All treatments are delivered to industry standards and students are encouraged to use the visits to help build their customer service and professional communication skills.

Paula Clark, Chief Executive at the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust commented "We really enjoy welcoming the hair and beauty students from Dudley College each week to pamper our patients. Receiving a special complimentary treatment can really brighten up their day and come as a nice surprise while staying in hospital.
"The students have been extremely professional and we are also pleased to offer students the opportunity to gain vital hands on experience. It really is great partnership working with the College and our local community to everyone's benefit."

Dudley College student Rebeckha Homer, one of the beauty students who visits the hospital said "I only came to the hospital for the first time last week to do beauty treatments on the patients and I love it already. I was a bit nervous before I started as I'm not keen on hospitals, but now I'm looking forward to helping the patients feel better and making them happy. Getting 'real' experience like this is really useful as it helps you relate to clients when you get a job and makes you more confident."

June Ward, 82 from Cosely, whose currently hospitalised at Russells Hall for an on-going illness was looking forward to having her nails painted and she told us "It's lovely to see the girls from the College coming into the hospital, as it gives me someone else to talk to and helps me take my mind off being ill - it also helps pass the day as time drags when you are ill."

Bev Hunter, Curriculum Manager for Hair and Beauty at Dudley College said "When I visited the hospital recently I can honestly say that it was an amazing, humbling and emotional afternoon for me. I saw students carrying out a range of treatments, from simply brushing a patients hair to completing basic manicures. 

"Our students sometimes have to over come some quite difficult barriers, when patients are unable to get out of bed or move from one chair to the next, they persevere and do it with kindness and professionalism.
"Through their visits to the hospital students gain confidence and build on their communication skills as well as obtaining assessment opportunities when appropriate.  It's win-win feel-good factor for everyone involved."
The students, who are all training for a career in the hair and beauty industry, work with volunteers, nurses, visitors and the patients themselves. Through the complimentary treatments on offer they make a huge difference to people who are in hospital and away from family and loved ones by simply taking time out to stop and say 'hello, can I offer you a treatment?'