New Nursing Associates Join Whittington Health in National First

21 Mar 2019

Eighteen brand new Nursing Associates are among the first in England to successfully complete 2 years of clinical and academic training. They are now taking up posts in wards and community nursing teams across Whittington Health NHS Trust. The group are part a national pilot of 1,500 to be added to the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) register after the creation of the new role.

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Whittington Health NHS Trust was one of the first to begin a pilot training programme for the new role in 2017. It bridges the gap between the unregistered healthcare assistant role and registered nurses.
 
Our 18 new colleagues all successfully completed the new two year training programme which saw them placed as Trainee Nursing Associates within established clinical nursing teams. These are newly-created roles in our community and at our hospital during which they provided nursing care to patients across the Trust under the supervision and mentoring of registered nurses. While training, they also spent time at our partner universities learning the theory they would need to provide high quality, safe and compassionate care as well as with nurse supervisors for clinical learning.
 
Having successfully been enrolled on the NMC’s register they have now taken up roles across the Trust. This includes roles on our medical and surgical adult and children’s wards, the emergency department and in our district nursing and school nursing teams.
 
As part of the Nursing Now England campaign to change the publics perceptions of what it means to be a Nurse in the 21st century we have made a film featuring four of our new Nursing Associates discussing how they got into the role, their challenges and hopes for the future. Click here to watch it on our YouTube Channel.
 
Speaking about her experience of training and being amongst the first Nursing Associates in the country, Yvonne Kirya who is now working as a fully qualified Nursing Associate in our Emergency Department said: “I was previously working as a Healthcare Assistant in a GP practice but I felt like I wanted a new challenge. Becoming a Nursing Associate allowed me to do this. It was daunting working in the Emergency Department as a trainee because I had no previous experience of working in hospital, but the training and support of my colleagues has given me the skills and confidence I need to fully contribute to the team and provide outstanding patient care.”
 
Michelle Johnson, Chief Nurse at Whittington Health NHS Trust said: “It is my complete privilege to welcome and congratulate our newly qualified Nursing Associates. We have been so fortunate at Whittington Health to have been one of the first Trusts in England to pilot the Trainee Nurse Associate programme so today marks a huge celebration. We are very excited that this role not only builds a career pathway for our unregistered staff but also helps us to build the future capacity we need in our nursing workforce to ensure we can always deliver high quality care for our patients.”
 
 
The Shape of Caring review, held by Health Education England (HEE) in 2015, identified a gap in skills and knowledge between healthcare assistants and registered nurses. The Government announced the creation of the new role to bridge this gap and help meet the changing health and care needs of patients and the public.
 
Like nurses and other health professionals, Nursing Associates can expand their scope of practice through further education and experience.
Nurse leaders in England have been clear in a joint statement that the intention is for Nursing Associates to support, not substitute, registered nurses, and emphasised that by having a more highly educated and skilled support staff should enable better use to be made of graduate nurse resources.
 
You can find out more about the role by clicking here to visit the NMCs dedicated pages. If you think Nursing Associate might be the role for you then click here to find out how to start your Nursing Associate Career.
 

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