Nursing Associates who joined a national pilot programme pioneered through Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust will graduate this week after two years of training.
Sixteen trainees have come through the Trainee Nursing Associates (TNA) programme to take on the support role that bridges the gap between care assistants and registered nurses. They range in age from early 20s to mid-40s and have worked in teams across Medicine, Surgery, Maternity, Paediatrics and the Neonatal Unit to gain their Nursing Associate Foundation Degree.
The role was introduced to help build the capacity of the nursing workforce and support nurses and the wider multidisciplinary teams to focus on more complex clinical duties and Walsall Healthcare was chosen as one of 11 lead provider trusts after leading a Black Country-wide bid. This was a huge boost for the borough’s trust as there was a high demand from providers all over the country which wanted to offer training places.
The graduates will be attending a celebration event this evening (Wednesday 27 March) along with senior nurse leaders, Health Education England colleagues and academic partners from Wolverhampton University, where they will receive their certificates of achievement and a trust badge.
Linda Pascall, Associate Director of Nursing for Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We are so proud of the dedication and enthusiasm shown by our first group of TNAs and can’t wait to recognise their fantastic achievements at tonight’s event.
“Not only have they had two years of adjustment – juggling study, work and home commitments – but they have also been part of a pilot scheme that has had to evolve along the way too. Their feedback, ideas and suggestions have helped the trust to tailor the TNA pilot accordingly and future trainees, who will be Nursing Associate apprentices, will benefit from this invaluable input.
“Recruitment and retention of staff is difficult across the country and the more innovative we can be the better to address this issue. We believe Nursing Associates can bring so much to our workforce; not only hands on help but a change in the skill mix in our teams and on our wards to ensure a more sustainable, safe and stable trust. This standalone role also provides a progression route into graduate level nursing and it would be wonderful to see some of them do just that.”
Linda added that it was also important to acknowledge the support of staff on wards throughout the training period as well as colleagues who facilitated the role for the trust, overseeing training and development.
Walsall’s education partner has been the University of Wolverhampton with employment partners:
Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust
South Staffordshire & Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation
Staffordshire & Stoke-on-Trent Partnership NHS Trust
The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust
The Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust
Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group
Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group.
Its placement partners were Compton Hospice and Walsall Community Education Provider Network (CEPN).