A new nursing role has been introduced at local hospitals and in the community to improve the quality of care patients receive.
The nursing associate role was designed to bridge the gap between healthcare assistants and registered nurses. Now, following two years of studying and on-the-job learning, 15 nursing associates have qualified and 14 started working at the Trust which runs Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Goole hospitals, as well as community services.
Ellie Parker, head of nurse education at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I am delighted to announce our first cohort of nursing associates have qualified and have started working on our wards and in the community under their new job titles! It has been a fantastic opportunity for them to learn new skills and get a wide range of nursing experience under their belts.
“I am so proud they have all qualified, even more so due to the extraordinarily challenging time in our hospitals and communities since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. A huge well done to them all – I am sure they will go on to shine and develop at NLaG for years to come.”
All 15 of the nursing associates, who have qualified and obtained their professional registration, worked at the Trust before starting the course, most of them as healthcare assistants. The Trust now has five nursing associates working at Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby, six at Scunthorpe General Hospital and a further three working in the North Lincolnshire community.
Ellie Monkhouse, chief nurse, added: “I am delighted to welcome our nursing associates into their new role. They will be a valued part of our nursing team and I look forward to seeing them progress in their careers at the Trust.”
Rajvinder Chumber, newly qualified nursing associate working in the North Lincolnshire community, said: “I previously worked on a surgical ward and wanted to further my career but there were not many opportunities to do so. Qualifying as a nursing associate, for me, is another step towards becoming a nurse. The course appealed to me because I could learn while being paid which helped with my financial commitments.
Georgia Trought, newly qualified nursing associate working at Scunthorpe General Hospital, said: “I worked as a healthcare assistant and never saw myself going to university. When the nursing associate programme came along it was perfect for me, not only did it mean I would get paid to learn but being able to get on-the-job training. I’m more of a hands on learner so being able to put theory into practice meant I was constantly learning new skills. I look forward to being able to use my new skills and continue learning every day, with the hope of one day returning to university to become a registered nurse.”
Amy Raven, newly qualified nursing associate working at Diana, Princess of Wales hospital in Grimsby, said: “Nursing is such a rewarding career and it’s a lovely feeling knowing you’ve made a difference to somebody that day no matter how big or small. I’ve been told a few times ‘the real learning starts when you qualify’ so I’m excited to start on my new ward.”
The two-year programme at NLaG involves studying at the University of Lincoln while gaining practical experience through clinical placements. It covers caring for a child, adult, those with learning disabilities or mental health issues and care in the community. Once qualified, the nursing associates join the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register and work under a professional PIN just as nurses do.
Ellie Parker added: “The programme is a great way to upskill our staff and provide them with better opportunities for their future nursing career. Having this role in place also helps us in freeing up registered nurses to spend more time using their skills and knowledge to focus on complex clinical duties and take a lead in decisions on the management of patient care. Therefore, the care patients receive and their experience with us should also improve.”
Following the success of this cohort, the Trust is hoping to run the training programme again in 2021.