Graduation ceremonies have been held around the country for members of the new nursing associate role, ahead of them officially joining the NHS workforce on 28 January.
The first ever cohort of new nursing associates will sign up to the Nursing and Midwifery Council register on 28 January.
“It has been exciting to see our students develop their skills and confidence”
Health Education England is overseeing the nationwide pilot programme, which is delivered via both foundation degrees and apprenticeship schemes.
Earlier this month, nursing associates began to graduate from the universities around the country taking part in the pilot phase of training for the controversial new role.
Eleven sites across England were chosen to deliver the first wave of training for 1,000 nursing associates, beginning in December 2016.
A further 24 test sites were then selected to carry out training for a second wave of 1,000 trainees that began the two-year programme in April 2017.
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Among those graduating from the initial wave, were 51 nursing associates from the University of Salford, which was one of the first to offer the foundation degree – FdSc Nursing Associate.
A ceremony was held at Salford on 10 January, which was attended by Jean Hayles, Health Education England’s deputy lead nurse for the North, and Natasha Dare from the NMC.
Professor Margaret Rowe, dean of health and society at Salford said: “Nursing associates will address a skills gap between healthcare assistants and registered nurses, whilst also ensuring the NHS has more flexibility, capacity and capability to meet future healthcare needs. We see it too as a stepping stone to graduate level nursing.”
Dr Janine Archer, Salford’s programme leader, added: “It has been exciting to see our students develop their skills and confidence throughout the programme.
“Our programme is truly hands-on, with students working in local hospitals throughout their training,” said Dr Archer.
“And they enjoyed a significant element of simulation training to enhance their clinical skills, using our world-class facilities,” she said.
She added: “I am delighted to say that all our first Nursing Associates have successfully secured jobs in foundation trusts across Greater Manchester.”
Views from Salford nursing associate graduates
- “It’s great to be working and learning at the same time, being at a Uni and being able to do things I never dreamed I be able to do. I’m excited. I can’t wait to get started because I’ve learned a lot in the last 24 months.” Ariella Thomas, 29, Manchester
- “After being a healthcare support worker for 14 years I felt I wanted to use the skills and develop them further.” Ayesha Leonard, 40, Oldham
- “I’m looking forward to consolidating everything I’ve learned both on placement and at university.” Mike Lee, 31, from Mossley
Meanwhile, similar ceremonies were held across the country throughout the month, including by University of Lincoln on 23 and 24 January.
The nursing associate is a new support role that will sit alongside existing healthcare support workers and registered nurses to deliver hands-on, tailored care for people of all ages.It is also intended to provide a further route into registered nursing itself.
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As previously mentioned, the government planned 2,000 training places for nursing associates in the pilot phase. However, it has ambitions for 7,500 more to start courses during 2019.
Nursing associates graduation
Source: University of Salford