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NHS nurses of the future begin their training

Worcestershire hospitals’ nurses of the future began their training last month – and the role they will be fulfilling will be a brand new one in the NHS.

Nearly 60 students have started the Trainee Nursing Associate course at the University of Worcester, supported by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and Worcestershire Health and Care Trust.

The two-year foundation degree will train a brand new group of Nurse Associates to play a crucial role of filling a gap in skills between current health care assistants and registered nurses.

Once they have completed their course, the Nurse Associates will be able to work in NHS hospitals working alongside both health care assistants and qualified nurses to deliver high quality patient care.

The course will enable the nurses to take a lead in decisions on a patient’s hospital visit and deliver ‘hands on’ compassionate care.

The Trainee Nursing Associates will gain hours of practical clinical experience in a range of healthcare settings over the two years of the course, as well as academic sessions at the University, which is noted for the outstanding quality of its education.

Ally Middleton, Practice Facilitator for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said: “This new nursing role is really important for Worcestershire and for the future care of our patients. It is vital to give a new generation of staff the enhanced education and skills required to deliver great, hands-on care to all patients. The work-based learning programme taking place in clinical areas, will give our trainees the perfect experience to help shape them in to this future role.”

Trish Cerrone, Deputy Director of Nursing at Worcestershire Health and Care Trust, said: “The role is really key to developing the next generation of nurses who have the skills to deliver the kind of integrated care we need. Through the programme they will get an opportunity to work in different parts of the NHS system, including in community nursing roles, community hospitals, primary care and in an acute hospital, which will give them a greater understanding of the health economy.”

Professor David Green, the University of Worcester’s Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, who is known for his consistent campaigning for more nurses to be trained, said: “The University of Worcester is delighted to welcome our new Nurse Associate students. They will make a positive difference to care in our hospitals and health settings from day one. By the time they qualify, these students will be very valuable members of the health and medical teams. The University is deeply committed to working closely with all our partners to ensure that an outstanding health care workforce for tomorrow is created today.”

Dr Jan Quallington, Head of the Institute of Health and Society at the University of Worcester, said: “This Nursing Associate role, and the already established Physician Associate role also pioneered by the University, are the first of a number of new roles in health and social care and they will make a significant contribution to the successful delivery of care in the future.”

The first Nurse Associates in Worcestershire will finish their studies and qualify in April 2019, after which they will be able to work in local NHS hospitals.