A nursing cadet scheme developed in Sunderland has proved so successful it is to be extended across the north east of England.
The programme was launched in 2003 by Sunderland Teaching PCT, which has won the best employer category in NT’s Top 100 awards for the past two years. It is now being rolled out to cover both Gateshead and South Tyneside PCTs.
The 18-month programme, aimed at people in the local community with few formal qualifications, provides college and workplace-based training, after which the cadets progress to a nursing diploma course at Northumbria University.
Following the successful graduation and appointment of the three original cadets in Sunderland, NHS South of Tyne and Wear (the central management team that runs all three PCTs) has now recruited six new starters onto the cadet programme.
Bev Atkinson, director of provider development for NHS South of Tyne and Wear, said the scheme gave students practical experience and a better understanding of local services and nursing roles.
‘It gives a fantastic base to go on and complete a formal qualification,’ she added.
Sunderland Teaching PCT staff nurse Claire Thompson, one of the original cadets, explained: ‘We have lots of hands-on experience from the cadet programme and it’s great that we can start using our nursing skills for the benefit of patients and the local community.’
Sarah Johnston, a cadet with Gateshead PCT, said: ‘I’m really looking forward to learning about the different tasks carried out by nurses. The practical experience should really help me when it comes to completing the theory side of the course.’