Nursing and professional development staff at Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (NDHT) have welcomed the Health Education England lead for the innovative nursing associate pilot during a visit to North Devon District Hospital (NDDH).
Sam Donohue, senior nurse, policy, for Health Education England, visited some of the wards at NDDH and held a round-table discussion with nursing associate trainees and senior nursing staff from NDHT.
Through her links with the original nursing associate pilot sites, Sam has been keen to keep in touch with the trainees and employing organisations. The pilot began in early 2017 and the first wave of trainees is due to achieve registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council on 28 January 2019.
Other waves of trainees have followed, with the latest cohort starting their two-year training in January this year. During her visit, Sam learned more about the experience of trainees and team leaders in the pilot so far and their future plans, and answered questions. Sam also heard from staff based at other nursing associate pilot sites, including the RD&E, Torbay Hospital, Derriford Hospital and Livewell South West.
Sam said: “It’s a really forward-thinking collaborative around a vision of the nursing associate role within the nursing workforce. The fact that we’ve got this group of nurses with a combined vision is just fantastic. It’s quite moving to create something that you hope will work and then see it being really delivered.”
Sam said that unlike the traditional nursing role, the benefit of the nursing associate role is that it’s not specific to any one field of health or social care and they can provide all types of care, both inside and outside hospital.
She added: “They have a person-centred lens: they are not just seeing bits of the patient, but all of them together.”
Carly Boyce, clinical career development lead at NDHT, said: “Here in North Devon, we have been very excited to be part of the pilot. Our existing workforce of experienced healthcare assistants has been yearning for an opportunity like this, and they are thrilled to be able to develop as they work alongside our current workforce, who have been fantastic supporters of the pilot.
“Our trainees are already being recognised for the skills and talent they bring to NDHT and the difference they are making to the lives of our patients and their loved ones. We’re delighted to have welcomed a second cohort of trainee nursing associates this year. It was amazing to be able to share all of this with Sam during her recent visit.”