[T]he NHS in Cumbria is celebrating National Apprenticeship Week (5-9 March) this week by announcing the recruitment of 20 trainee nursing associates and 20 nursing degree apprentices at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (NCUH) and 10 trainee nursing associates and 10 nursing degree apprentices at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT)
The trainee nursing associate role, which will be offered on an internal secondment basis to existing health care assistants at NCUH and CPFT will bridge the gap between the role of a clinical support worker and a graduate registered nurse. It is part of a two-year programme, leading to a Foundation Degree and a role as a nursing associate. This is the third wave of recruitment for apprentice trainee nursing associates, as part of The Lancashire and Cumbria Test Site Partnership with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) as the academic partner.
The nursing degree apprenticeship, which is a four year programme through the Open University, will enable trainees to become a graduate registered nurse through an apprentice route.
Duties for the nursing associate role will include:
- Supporting patients with all aspects of care including daily living, providing person-centred care and promoting health and independence
- Performing and recording clinical observations including blood pressure, temperature, respirations and pulse
- Recording nutritional and fluid intake
- Reporting back and sharing information with the registered nurses on the condition, behaviour, activity and responses of patients
- Assisting in the delivery of complex care as prescribed by the registered nurse
The training programme for nursing associates combines both academic and work-based learning in the physical, psychological and public health aspects of care, from pre-conception to end of life. The academic aspect of the programme will be delivered by UCLan at its West Lakes Campus in Whitehaven. The tuition costs for the programme are fully funded from the Apprentice Levy, with trainees working clinically for four days and attending university for one day per week.
Candidates must have at least 12 months experience of working in clinical healthcare. For trainee nursing associates, upon successful completion of the two-year programme, staff will be eligible to progress to a Band 4 nursing associate role. Nursing degree apprentices will become qualified registered nurses after the four year programme is completed.
The training course for nursing associates will begin in June 2018 and in September 2018 for the degree course. Interviews for the apprenticeships at NCUH are expected to take place at the end of March and in May for CPFT.
Gill Long, head of nursing for clinical education and practice development at NCUH, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for any health care assistant or assistant practitioner who wants to progress their career, and we are really excited to be offering these roles to our staff. It is very important to recognise the vital contribution our non-registered staff make.
“Both NCUH and CPFT are committed to ‘growing our own’ from the bottom up – we know that we have a lot of potential in our health care workforce. These roles benefit both the organisations and the staff, allowing us to keep on those excellent people while ensuring they can flourish in a place where they already have experience.”
In addition to the nursing roles, CPFT has employed 63 new apprentices this year in a variety of roles with vacancies being advertised throughout the year on the NHS Jobs website. NCUH is also developing their apprenticeships programme and are looking to welcome apprentices soon.
Molly Dargue, 18, business administration apprentice within the Communications and Engagement Team in Penrith, said: “The NHS is so varied and being an apprentice has helped me to discover new career pathways that I would never have thought of. I would definitely recommend joining the apprenticeship programme as I have gained experience of a real workplace whilst working towards a qualification and getting paid.”
Ellie Garner, 19 from Frizington started at CPFT as an Administration Apprentice at Flatt Walks Health Centre in Whitehaven in 2016 for the Podiatry team and following completion of her apprenticeship last year, she successfully secured a permanent role within the team. Ellie said: “I really enjoy working in the NHS and I think it was the best choice for me. I love my job and my team were very welcoming, they helped me gain more knowledge and understanding of administration tasks.”
The apprenticeship programmes are available to anyone and the Trust also supports existing staff to develop through this route. The programmes range from health and social care and nursing to business administration and estates at all levels.
Toni Hall, education and learning manager at CPFT, said: “Apprenticeships are an ideal way to learn while working in a real job alongside highly skilled and experienced staff. All apprentices at CPFT have a named mentor who provides advice and guidance throughout the apprenticeship as well as receiving dedicated support from our Vocational Learning Team.
“Each apprentice works towards a nationally recognised qualification whilst also being paid which is a great bonus! Apprenticeships cover a wide range of careers at various levels which help us “grow our own” workforce for the future.”