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Norfolk students trained in new role to bridge NHS gap

PUBLISHED: 17:06 13 September 2018 | UPDATED: 18:14 13 September 2018

The Nursing Associate Launch in Norwich.
 Picture: Keiron Tovell

The Nursing Associate Launch in Norwich. Picture: Keiron Tovell

© Keiron Tovell Photography 2018

Some 70 students in Norfolk are some of the first in the UK to be trained for a brand new nursing role, put in place to address staffing challenges within the NHS.

The Nursing Associate Launch in Norwich. 
Picture: Keiron Tovell.The Nursing Associate Launch in Norwich. Picture: Keiron Tovell.

UEA, City College Norwich and The Open University are some of the first establishments to offer the alternative apprenticeship-style path for trainee nursing associates (TNAs).

Anna Morgan, director of nursing and quality at Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS (NCHC), said: “We know that in Norfolk we have lots of people out in the community that may not get the academic attainment to go straight to university or might not know what they want to do.

“There are so many careers in health and care, this course gives people the opportunity to choose from multiple things that they might want to do.”

The Nursing Associate Launch in Norwich. Anna Morgan speaking.
 Picture: Keiron TovellThe Nursing Associate Launch in Norwich. Anna Morgan speaking. Picture: Keiron Tovell

The TNA roll is brand new to Norfolk and Waveney and 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.

Sarah Challis, 27-year-old mother-of-two who is starting the new apprenticeship course at UEA, said: “I heard that this course was coming up and felt that it gives such a wide range of knowledge which goes out to so many different aspects of care, you get the best of everything.

Trainee Nursing Associate Launch - Anna Morgan, Vivienne Stimpson, Diane Gray, and (front), Fran Brett and Jo Bishop.
 Picture: Keiron TovellTrainee Nursing Associate Launch - Anna Morgan, Vivienne Stimpson, Diane Gray, and (front), Fran Brett and Jo Bishop. Picture: Keiron Tovell

“Because I have two children it also means I still have my family life along with being a student and an experienced learner.”

The TNAs will also gain experience of community healthcare by spending time in care homes, as well as with East Coast Community Healthcare (ECCH) and NCHC, and of mental health through Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s (NSFT) involvement in the partnership.

Holly Jones, 27, who currently works in Bilney Hall care home, Dereham alongside her course said: “It’s great to see both sides coming together with social care being included, I think that will help close the gap.

Mother-of-two Sarah Challis speaking at The Nursing Associate Launch. Picture: Keiron TovellMother-of-two Sarah Challis speaking at The Nursing Associate Launch. Picture: Keiron Tovell

“I started as a carer, did my NVQs to become a senior carer so this is a really good next step to progress up.”

Once qualified, 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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