35 newly qualified nursing associates begin pioneering new role
NHS Trusts across Lancashire are welcoming their first ever nursing associates following a successful pilot programme at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
UCLan was one of the first universities in the country to run the two-year nursing associates foundation degree and now the first cohort has already been offered jobs across three NHS Trusts; Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, East Lancashire Hospitals and Lancashire Care.
The pioneering role was developed by Health Education England (HEE) as a new support role to bridge the gap between health care assistants and registered nurses. It focuses on delivering hands-on care for patients while at the same time freeing up registered nurses’ to focus on more complex clinical duties.
Nursing associates are educated in all areas of care including mental and physical health, acute, primary, secondary and community care. The first cohort of students were all already working as health care assistants, allowing them to build on their existing experience and develop their careers. Although a professional role in its own right, nursing associates have the opportunity to progress and complete an 18-month conversion course to become a registered nurse.
This is just the beginning of what will be exciting careers for the nursing associates. It is a pioneering course which we are proud to have developed and delivered collaboratively with our NHS partner provider organisations.
Michelle McAteer, 49, will be a nursing associate within the Churchtown District Nursing Team near Southport. She said: “I was already working as a healthcare assistant and was inspired to apply for the course by my daughter who is studying to be a nurse at UCLan. I love working in the community and making a difference. I’ll be able to do this even more in my new role through planning care provision and building relationships with people.”
Terri Tattersall, a 28-year-old newly qualified nursing associate who will work at Blackpool Victoria, said: “I initially studied geography and it was whilst working in a nursing home during my first degree I realised what my true passion was. I’ve been a health care assistant for three years and jumped at the chance to develop my career. I’ve really enjoyed the course, especially learning on the job and building on my existing knowledge.”
Sam Donohue, the national nursing associate lead for HEE, congratulated the students who all began their course in March 2017.
She said: “This role evolved from a report commissioned to look at the nursing workforce over the next 30 years. Nursing associates offer a unique contribution to care, which puts patients at the centre of everything. Because they are trained in so many areas, we’re already seeing knowledge and best-practise shared across disciplines. With 5,000 nursing associates beginning their careers and a further 7,000 expected to qualify next year, it’s a role the NHS really believes in.”
Head of the UCLan School of Nursing Professor Karen Wright said: “All of these students are trailblazers and I am thrilled to see them ready to go into many areas of the NHS and make a significant contribution. Being a nursing associate is about being at the heart of the patient journey and taking the time to offer the best care possible.”
Professor Nigel Harrison, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing at UCLan, added: “This is just the beginning of what will be exciting careers for the nursing associates. It is a pioneering course which we are proud to have developed and delivered collaboratively with our NHS partner provider organisations. We are committed as a University to build on this success as we prepare for our fourth group of students who commence their course at the end of March.”
Sam Donohue, National Nursing Associate Lead