Devon’s Nursing Associate trainees start work towards pioneering new healthcare role

28 July 2017

Amy Tysall [Trainee Nursing Associate]

Amy Tysall [Trainee Nursing Associate]

Dozens of trainees have started an exciting new pilot programme in hospitals and care homes across Devon, training in a new role to become Nursing Associates.

Devon was selected as one of 11 pilot sites nationally and the only one in the south to develop the role. The Nursing Associate position is a new role alongside existing others, which is designed to bridge the gap between health and care support workers, who have a care certificate, and graduate registered nurses and offers opportunities for health care assistants to progress into nursing roles.

A total of 69 trainees are currently employed within the following organisations:

  • Northern Devon Healthcare Trust
  • Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust
  • Torbay and South Devon Foundation Trust
  • Plymouth Hospitals NHS trust
  • Livewell South West Plymouth

They will be undertaking placements in various health and social care providers including private care homes, GP practices, Hospiscare, SWAST, and Devon Partnership Trust. Each Nursing Associate’s training will take two years to complete and will be a combination of work-based competencies, hands-on experience and least one study day a week. The training providers are South Devon College and Petroc College, supported by Plymouth University.

The pilot site is part of the wider Devon Sustainability and Transformation Programme (STP). Devon was selected by Health Education England after a bidding process. As part of its bid, Devon STP stressed the unique challenge it faces in attracting Registered Nurses (RNs) due to its large rural area and shortage of supporting transport routes.

Jane Gidman, Workforce Development Lead at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to be part of the national pilot for the new Nursing Associate role to promote this new initiative, in partnership with other organisations across Devon.

“Nursing recruitment is a challenge locally, and this role provides an exciting opportunity for health and care support workers to develop in their careers, earning a regular salary at the same time as completing studies.”

Amy Tysall, Trainee Nursing Associate at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Being on the trainee nursing associate programme has provided a great opportunity to further my career and will hopefully enable me to study for a full nursing degree – so this is a great pathway for me to achieve my goal.

“The programme offers a great opportunity to bridge the gap between health care assistants and registered nurses to deliver holistic care. If there are any health care assistants thinking about progressing with nursing, I would absolutely recommend this programme as a way forward with their career.”

Professor Ian Cumming, Chief Executive of Health Education England, said: “We are at a pivotal point in determining what the future nursing and care workforce needs to look like for now and in the years to come. I passionately believe that this new role will help build the capacity and capability of the health and social care workforce and allow high quality care to be delivered to a diverse and ageing population.”


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