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Wiltshire trust to help fund HCAs while they train to become nurses

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Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is trying to encourage healthcare assistants to enrol on a nursing degree course by offering them part-time work while they train.

HCAs will be able to continue working at the trust while doing a four-year Open University degree. The course allows participants to study at home while continuing to work two or three days a week.

“The feedback we have received from the first cohort of students has been extremely positive”

Vanessa Ongley

The trust said the new initiative was a way to bring more qualified nurses to Great Western Hospital in Swindon and its community settings across Wiltshire.

Vanessa Ongley, education facilitator at the trust, said: “Financial burdens often deter HCAs from returning to full time education, but this programme allows them to study while being able to stay at work.

“The feedback we have received from the first cohort of students has been extremely positive,” she added.

Emma Stokes, a nursing auxiliary who took part in the initial pilot programme for the scheme, said: “Working within a hospital environment gave me the confidence to apply for the student nurse position and it was encouraging to have support from fellow colleagues.”

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Readers' comments (2)

  • This seems to be an excellent initiative. However on closer inspection all that this trust is actually offering is to pay the experienced HCA's for working as usual for two or three shifts whilst undertaking nurse training. I am therefore not sure what they are being praised for. Surely the trust is equally benefiting from the arrangement?

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  • This is how I am doing my nurse training. Yes it is a very good way to train. However there is a lot involed. You have to shuffle your shifts at your job along side shifts when you are on a placement and study time. You have assignment after assignment to write, there is support if you need and study time is at home. You have to be very dissapilned with yourself. You also need good support from your ward and a good mentor from work. My trust has been doing this for a good few years now. And I think the ward gets money for releasing you to train. So any HCA that's wants to do this go for it. Four years seems a long time but look how years are flying by. I started in Setember but I am only doing 3 years because I did a foundation degree first.

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