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Nurses lead the way for support staff to develop

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Elysium Healthcare’s Career Advancement Programme helps healthcare support workers to take on more senior roles



Healthcare support workers (HCSWs) no longer have limited development opportunities thanks to Elysium Healthcare’s nurse-led Career Advancement Programme (CAP). The framework has been designed for those who are hoping to undertake a more senior HCSW role with added responsibility or a speciality, or for those who wish to go on and apply to undertake their nurse training with support from Elysium Healthcare.

The CAP is backed by Joy Chamberlain, chief executive officer at  Elysium Healthcare and is supported by chief nurse, Keith Barry. The scheme was created by two of Elysium Healthcare’s senior nurses to develop and recognise the skills of HCSWs and increase their engagement.  

Angela Owen, nursing development lead and Joanne Davis, nursing projects lead, have created and rolled out the development programme to recognise and reward the skills of those who deliver care and support to service users. Angela told us: “Healthcare support workers are the largest workforce within healthcare services and yet traditionally have limited opportunities to progress. This in turn, can result in the HCSW becoming disengaged from the service they work in. With the changing face of healthcare and the challenges faced by all organisations in recruiting and retaining nursing staff it is clear that developing the HCSW is becoming increasingly important in order to meet current and future services and workforce demands. It is vital for any provider in our sector to ensure we maintain and develop high standards of patient care.”

Consultations about the course content and criteria for HCSWs to enrol, took place at all levels of the organisation. Learning module suggestions for the CAP were received from across the organisation and fine-tuned by both Angela and Joanne. 

Nurses lead the way for support staff to develop

Nurses lead the way for support staff to develop

Joanne Davis (left) and Angela Owen (right)

Each training activity is grouped under four overarching themes: therapeutic interventions; physical healthcare; mentoring and supervision; and personal development. Each theme will be generic in nature so that they will be appropriate for all healthcare specialities at Elysium Healthcare. The topics are not set in stone and can be tailored to fit the needs of each cohort depending on which site they originate from. The programme runs over a 12-month split period and is held over different Elysium sites and venues.

Paula Heggie, senior HCSW at Arbury Court  said: “I am thoroughly enjoying all aspects of CAP so far, the support given to undertake this programme has given me nothing but confidence to continue to progress. I am now contemplating my nursing associate training.”

The programme is evaluated at the end of each cohort and developed depending on the feedback received from HCSWs on the programme and their respective sites.

HCSWs undertaking the course are expected to submit regular reflections on their learning and how this has been integrated into their practice. For physical health topics there are competencies to achieve back at the HCSWs service and these are overseen and approved by one of the Elysium Healthcare nursing team.

Healthcare support workers applying to be accepted on to the CAP will have been employed by Elysium Healthcare for a minimum of one year and have an exemplary employment record. Angela and Joanne will be looking for HCSWs who demonstrate a keen desire to progress, a commitment to improving standards of patient care and those who demonstrate an excellent work ethic toward the service users they support and care for.

Joanne Davis said: “The healthcare support workers we want to develop are those who are motivated and committed, those who show real care and compassion, with good communication skills and a willingness to learn.”

To find out more about CAP, contact Suzanne Rosenberg, head of learning and development at Elysium on 020 8327 1800 or

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