THE FIRST trainees have embarked on a Coventry University course that will prepare them for a new role that aims to transform the health and care workforce.
The nursing associate position has been designed to bridge the gap between health care assistants and registered nurses within the NHS, by focusing on hands-on care in hospitals and community settings.
The 29 trainees on the course are developing the knowledge, skills and understanding needed for them to assist, support and complement the role of registered nurses.
They will spend one day a week at the university with the remaining time in their work bases – hospitals, health and social care organisations or community settings – where they will be supported by their mentor and experienced staff.
The trainees will work towards the nursing associate foundation degree over two years.
Coventry University is part of a second wave of 24 test sites chosen by Health Education England to deliver the training for the new role, with 11 other pilot areas launching courses earlier this year.
Some 2,000 nursing associates will be trained nationwide by 2019.
The university is working with partners, including South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust, George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust, South Warwickshire GP Federation and Coventry & Rugby GP Alliance, to deliver the course.
Warwickshire County Council, Myton Hospice, Ben Town Thorns Care Centre, NHS South Warwickshire CCG, Coventry and Rugby CCG and Warwickshire North CCG are also placement partners.
The course is funded by Health Education England.
Helen Lancaster, director of nursing at South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, said: “These new roles, supported by our nursing staff and academic partners, will provide people with a fantastic opportunity to enter and progress in a rewarding career in nursing.”
Nina Fraser, chief nursing officer at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, added: “We are extremely pleased to be working in partnership with Coventry University to deliver this new course and introduce this exciting role to our hospitals.
“The Nursing Associates will be an important addition to our clinical teams to help us meet the changing needs of patients and ensure we continue to provide them with high quality, safe care.”
A Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust spokesman added: “We are proud to be working in partnership with Coventry University to support this new pilot.
“This valuable new role will help to diversify and expand our current workforce, promoting job satisfaction and staff retention.
“It will contribute to a variety of career opportunities depending on individual preferences whilst supporting the ever-changing needs of the NHS.”