Devon pilots new, first of its kind, nursing associate apprenticeship in care homes

Nursing Associates standing together

Posted on: 30 March 2020

Devon’s pioneering new Nursing Associate Apprenticeship Programme was launched this month.

Nine apprentices, part funded by Devon County Council, will be employed by independent sector social care providers.

Nursing associates work with people of all ages and in a variety of settings within health and social care. They are vital as they contribute to the core work of nursing by supporting registered nurses.

The apprentices will be based four days a week in nursing and residential care homes across the county and study one day a week at Plymouth University.

With the coronavirus outbreak the pilot scheme comes at a time when clinically skilled health and care workers in a variety of fields are needed more than ever.

The placements will give each apprentice valuable experience in different areas of health care including acute, mental health, end-of-life, learning disabilities and children’s services and GP practices.

After two years they will have achieved an academic foundation degree, Level 5, qualification, and the trainees will be eligible to apply to be part of the Nursing and Midwifery Council register to become Registered Nursing Associates.

The scheme also provides a progression route into graduate level nursing.

The Devon roles have already grabbed national attention. Professor Ian Kessler of Kings College London is leading a team of researchers on behalf of the Government to look at the impact of Trainee Nursing Associates.

Professor Kessler is working in partnership with Devon for the duration of the two-year pilot to support the evaluation of the programme, and to understand the impact of the roles.

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Health and Social Care said:

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter

“Trainee Nursing Associates were introduced to the NHS just over two years ago. Currently most of the 250 trainee or qualified nursing associates in Devon work in the NHS.
“Yet given that nurses are essential members of the teams in nursing homes its clear that the skills of nursing associates would be invaluable in a social care environment.
“The apprentices will provide vital support to registered nurses and the scheme provides a progression route into graduate level nursing.
“We have also employed a Placement Development Coordinator to help the care providers meet Nursing and Midwifery Council requirements associated with the scheme.
“Participating care homes will require practice supervisors and assessors, so our Placement Development Coordinator will work with the homes to support these requirements. “I look forward to tracking the progress of our apprentices as the programme develops.”

Liliana Rosca is one of nine Trainee Nursing Associates starting the programme. Her placement is at Barton Place Nursing Home in Exeter.
She said: “I am really excited to be on the Nursing Associate training programme and think this is a very good learning opportunity for me that will enhance my knowledge further to become a better practitioner.”

Barton Place Nursing Home’s Registered Manager, Alison Wetherall, said: “Many care workers working in social care settings would not be able to undertake this training without the funding support. We are therefore very appreciative of the funding that Devon County Council, Devon CCG and Health Education England have provided to make this excellent programme a reality for our staff.”

Halwill Manor Nursing Home in Beaworthy is also participating in the scheme, with a new Trainee Nursing Associate beginning this week.

Sue Evans, Registered Manager at the home said: “We are very keen to create career development opportunities for our staff members and we believe this programme will do that along with promoting a general culture of learning which will benefit all of us.”

Culm Valley Nursing Home in Cullompton is also involved with the programme.

Ann Bright, Registered Manager, said: “The support we are getting from Devon County Council to implement the Trainee Nursing Associate role is invaluable and will help develop the workforce for the future. We are looking forward to supporting our candidates to enhance their knowledge and skills.”

If you are interested in joining the apprenticeship scheme, please contact Terrie Chaplin at: terrie.Chaplin@devon.gov.uk

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