Dementia choir actor advocate praises University student nursing choir

A TV actor and dementia advocate has sent a message of support to the University of Chester’s Nursing students to thank them for their performances as a choir. 

The nursing students are based at various university sites including Marriss House in Birkenhead, near the tunnel entrance.

Vicky McClure MBE, star of BBC’s Line of Duty drama and presenter of Our Dementia Choir sent a video to students taking part in the University’s Creative Health placement. 

In the message, Vicky said, “Hello to all you Nursing students at the University of Chester. I have been hearing about your creative health placement and it is exciting to hear you have the opportunity to explore singing and music and its role within health care during your first year of nurse training.

“Here at Our Dementia Choir we see the impact singing has not only on our choir members living with dementia but on their carers and the wider community also. We get to see first-hand the positive impact that singing in a choir can have on physical, mental and emotional health. 

“So, I hope you feel these benefits too when you come together as a group and sing. Thank you for all the work you are doing as student nurses and I wish you the best in your future careers.” 

Vicky McClure and Maureen

The University first piloted a Creative Health placement in 2022 and now all first-year student nurses undertake a four-week placement. As part of this placement, the students work with many artists, including forming and singing in a choir.

Creative health is an important part of the 21st Century health system and the National Centre for Creative Health (NCCH) has recommended that all clinicians and healthcare practitioners have education and experience in this area. 

The choir then visits care homes and other public spaces to perform and inspire others with the positive and healing powers of music and coming together as a group. 

The placement at Chester won the Student Nursing Times Placement of the Year: Community in 2023 and is a case study in the NCCH review published in December 2023. 

Vicky Ridgway, Professor of Nursing at the University of Chester, said, “We are really proud of our creative health placement and how it is allowing students to see the importance of holistic care and how art, music and dance can aid wellbeing.” 

Jess, from the Our Dementia Choir team, said, “We’re honoured to be supporting such a great initiative! Music really is medicine and seeing that it’s part of training is such an important step forward into creating a dementia-friendly country! Good luck to everyone taking part and we hope you witness just how incredible the power of music truly is!”

Lead image: The Nursing Choir at Chester Cathedral

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