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NTU celebrates National Apprenticeship Week with their Nursing Associate Foundation Degree Apprentices

Our Nursing Associate Foundation Degree Apprentices talk about their experiences at NTU as we celebrate National Apprenticeship Week.

TNA Charlotte Beckworth
Trainee Nursing Associate Charlotte Beckworth

As we celebrate National Apprenticeship Week here at NTU, we hear from our most recent graduates and the first in their cohort from the Level 5 Nursing Associate Foundation Degree Apprenticeship.

The Nursing Associate Foundation Degree Apprenticeship course has been developed in partnership with employers to create a programme of study to meet the needs of a wide range of health and social care settings. It has been designed to be academically rigorous and provide both the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed for progression to Nursing Associate roles within health and social care settings. The design of this programme is founded on the principles of providing high quality, evidence-based person-centred care.

This course integrates collaborative learning and uses a wide range of assessment methods to ensure that the course will be engaging and challenging. Throughout the course, the learning materials and assessments have a work-based focus, using case-studies, problem-based learning and blended learning methods to demonstrate how theory underpins health and social care practice.

Students will access a wide variety of placements for 20 weeks over the two years to achieve the NMC programme hours and practice learning requirements. These placements will include experiences in adult, children’s, mental health and learning disability areas, across the lifespan in a variety of setting across community, hospital, primary and social care settings.

Throughout their time on the course, students submitted blog posts written about their experiences undertaking the apprentices:

Ellie Barrie

Prior to becoming a TNA, I worked as a health care assistant in general practice. Over the years I developed knowledge and various clinical skills such as phlebotomy, ECGs and injections but felt I had maximised my role as an HCA and knew I would not be able to develop further without becoming a registered professional. Wanting to enhance the care I provide for patients and to pursue a career in nursing I decided to enrol on to the Trainee Nursing Associate course. This role fits perfectly in primary care by assisting the nursing team with their workload allows them to undertake more complex care. This apprenticeship route is ideal for me as a mature student as I am able to learn on the job whilst being educated at a degree level.

With the TNA course being two years, the learning process is constant and demanding, however so rewarding to see your hard work pay off at the end. I learnt new subjects such as anatomy and physiology as well as teaching and learning theory which I have been able to apply to practice. I have also learnt the expectation and responsibility of becoming a registered professional and how the NMC Code informs all aspects of our practice. I have learnt as a relatively new role colleagues at work or on placements are not always receptive to change or have preconceived ideas about the role therefore, I feel passionately about educating and showing how valuable nursing associates are within the team.

I am most proud of completing a nursing degree amidst the most unexpected and challenging time the NHS has faced. I am proud that I have adapted well during placements as acute care is very different from my normal practice therefore on each placement, I have gone the extra mile to maximise learning opportunities to gain knowledge and confidence in other areas. I am proud when I receive positive feedback from the patients, I care for which makes me feel my compassionate, person centred approach to nursing makes a difference to people’s lives.

Charlotte Beckworth

My career in healthcare did not happen until later in life for me. Until 2013, I worked for Nottinghamshire County Council as a teaching assistant in an infant school. My grades were not fantastic when leaving school, but they got me into college to train as a Nursery Nurse which I worked as for the next 20 years. As I approached 40, the itch to go into nursing came back, so I made the brave decision to move into healthcare and joined NUH as a healthcare assistant. Working alongside such experienced and passionate nurses and seeing the impact we had on our patient outcomes is what inspired me to begin my own nursing journey. At the age of 44 I went back to college to gain my qualifications in Math's and English which then allowed me to apply for the Nursing Associate foundation degree apprenticeship.

The decision to go back into study was never going to be an easy one, especially working full time with a family and home to manage, then throw in a pandemic, just to make things that bit harder!! Never did I believe I would be able to write an academic assignment for university, but the library service at NTU has been a huge support, with 1-1 tutorial sessions available to book for most subjects. This course has definitely taught me how to manage my time effectively. I would use my days off and evenings when the children were in bed to complete my assignments. As I approach the end of my course, I am so proud of how far I have come and what I have achieved.

I am looking forward to taking a break from studying for a while and am really excited to be starting my post as a newly qualified nursing associate in the new year. I plan to use everything I have learned during the course to expand and develop my knowledge and skills further. The apprenticeship route has been a fantastic opportunity for me to progress in my career while still being able to work and provide for my family.

Jodee Hill

Ever since leaving school, I’ve always wanted to be within the nursing profession. I completed an access course with the intention of joining a 3-year nursing programme at university. Within that time, I became a mother, meaning my responsibilities suddenly became so different. It seemed almost impossible to raise a family whilst having financial responsibilities too. I decided to get a job as a Health care assistant at Nottingham University Hospitals, but I always knew I wanted to go higher within the nursing world. I enjoyed working as a Health care assistant, but I wanted to be able to do more for my patients. When I found out about the Trainee Nursing Associate programme, I was thrilled! Not only could I gain vital nursing skills and improve the care I gave, but I would get to follow my dreams whilst still being able to provide for my family! I knew straight away this was the route for me. The shortlisting for the job was very competitive, however I made it! I started the programme in January 2020 and never looked back! I am now nearing to the end of the programme, and I can honestly say it has been one of the best experiences of my life! I would advise anyone who is thinking about applying to do it!

On the Trainee Nursing Associate programme, I have been fortunate enough to experience all 4 fields of nursing (Adult, Paediatric, Mental Health, Learning Disabilities), within a range of settings (Hospital, Community, Nursing Home, Clinics). This has provided me with a wide variety of skills and knowledge which I have been able to take forward with me an apply within my work base setting. Working in different areas, with a variety of patients has helped me to adopt a holistic person-centred approach to my care, a skill that I will continuously use throughout my career. During my time at university, I have been taught how to correctly write an academic essay, something I never thought I would ever be able to do! The support from the University has been excellent and I cannot thank each lecturer enough!

My advice to all of those thinking of joining the programme, just remember to take time to relax and wind down. The programme can be intense, and there are many occasions where I have wobbled thinking I can’t do it. However, I can assure you that if you manage your time appropriately and do your work in bitesize pieces at a time, you will get there and you will find that everything will just fall into place. Joining the programme was the best decision I made, and I have met some fantastic people along the way. I’ve also made some friends for life. So, if you’re feeling unsure, just go for it! What have you got to lose? I can promise you now, you will have A LOT to gain!

NTU celebrates National Apprenticeship Week with their Nursing Associate Foundation Degree Apprentices

Published on 11 February 2022
  • Subject area: Psychology, sociology, health and social care
  • Category: Current students; School of Social Sciences

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