New nursing role launched
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The first 70 students have begun training for an new role which it is hoped will further improve the care which people in Norfolk and Waveney receive while helping increase capacity within the NHS and social care workforce.
The trainee nursing associates (TNAs) have been introduced by the Norfolk and Waveney Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) as part of a national programme which aims to find innovative ways to address staffing challenges within health and social care.
The nursing associate role aims to bridge the gap between health or care assistants and registered nurses. It will also give health and care assistants the opportunity to undergo further training to help them progress into a nursing role.
Xu Norman, who has just started training to be one of Norfolk and Waveney's first nursing associates, said: 'I'm so pleased to have this opportunity and I'm looking forward to the challenge. This is a chance for me to learn new skills and to be part of a team that will make a real difference to the care that people living in Norfolk and Waveney receive. It will also help me to further my own career and ultimately give me a better future.'
Over the next two years, the trainees will combine training at the University of East Anglia and City College Norwich, or via The Open University, with placements at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals, James Paget and Queen Elizabeth hospitals.
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They will also gain experience of community healthcare by spending time in care homes, with East Coast Community Healthcare (ECCH) and Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCHC), as well as of mental health through Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust's (NSFT) involvement in the partnership.
Once qualified, the nursing associates will provide hands-on care within hospital wards and departments, within the community and in primary care as part of the wider health and social care team.
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Anna Morgan, director of nursing and quality at NCHC and workforce lead for the Norfolk and Waveney STP, said: 'We are really excited about this innovative new role, which aims to further improve the care which people in Norfolk and Waveney receive.
'Nationally the NHS and social care are continuing to face recruitment challenges, which is why it is so important for us to find new ways to diversify our nursing skill base and expand capacity in our workforce.
'The nursing associate role is already being trialed elsewhere in the country and it's had a really positive impact on health and care services. We hope we can recreate that success in Norfolk and Waveney and would like to wish our very first trainee nursing associates all the best as they begin this brand new training course.'