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“Passionate about caring for people” – Meet our Trainee Nursing Associates

This autumn, seven healthcare assistants at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in King’s Lynn (Norfolk) have embarked on an exciting new two-year apprenticeship programme via the OU. 

The Trainee Nursing Associate (TNA) programme is part of a national initiative to help bridge the gap between healthcare assistants and registered nurses. The role, which was introduced by Health Education England, provides an opportunity for health and care workers to undergo further training to help them progress into a nursing role, whilst also providing a much-needed higher level of care and expertise within the nursing team.

We caught up with our new TNA’s to find out more about them, and their career hopes and dreams as they embark on this exciting new programme with the OU.

Aiming high

Emma Flowers

Emma Flowers currently works in the respiratory ward at QEH and sees the TNA programme as a good opportunity to develop her career further. She says:

“I applied for the programme because I wanted to learn and develop my nursing career. My goal is to become a Nursing Associate, then maybe go on to become a Registered Nurse.” 

Xu Norman

Emma is not the only one with the ambition of going on to become a Registered Nurse after the programme. Xu Norman describes herself as being “passionate about looking after people.” She originally trained as a nurse in China and says:

“Nursing in the UK is very different to in China. I want to go back to my nursing career, so the programme is the perfect opportunity for me to get more involved in patient-centred care and integrated nursing, and to go on to become a Registered Nurse in the UK.”

New opportunities

Niamh Bishop

Niamh Bishop from King’s Lynn works in the frailty ward at the QEH and was inspired to work in healthcare after being a carer for her grandfather. She says:

“Being a young mum, I didn’t expect to have opportunities available to me where I can further myself whilst still being able to work and provide for my family. It is really exciting to be part of a new front-line position which may help alleviate the current pressures on nurses and health care assistants.”

For Selena Hawkins from Hunstanton, it was the flexibility of studying via the OU that spurred her on to apply to take her nursing career further.

“I was really keen to continue learning but because I have a young son I didn’t want to spend a long time traveling back and forward to a university. When this opportunity came up I was really keen to apply.”

Taking it to the next level

Eleanor Cox

Eleanor Cox from King’s Lynn currently works in the trauma and orthopaedics ward at QEH. She has always wanted to be a nurse, right from when she was a little girl and would dress up in fancy dress in a nurse’s pinny and stethoscope. Following completion of the programme she wants to go on to become a registered nurse, but is uncertain which area she would like to specialise in. She says:

“There are multiple specialist areas in nursing that excite me. At the moment I’m unsure which direction I would like to go in, but I am looking forward to going on the different placements on the programme so I can develop in a specialised area and develop to a Band 5 or further!”

Eleanor isn’t the only trainee hoping to go on to become a specialist nurse. Taylor Braithewaite-Paris, who also works in the trauma and orthopaedics ward at QEH, applied to the programme to further her career. She says:

“The part of the programme I am most looking forward to is learning and undertaking more complex clinical skills. I would like to be a specialist nurse. I hope the course will help me decide what area in.”

We wish all of our new TNA’s the very best of luck with their training!

This scheme is part of the Norfolk and Waveney Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) – an innovative scheme to further improve the quality of care received by people in the region, and to help tackle the NHS’s widely-reported nursing shortage. The TNA role will be regulated by the NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council) and on qualifying as Nursing Associates they will be registered with the NMC. The OU is one of several organisations taking part to train over 70 TNAs in the region over the next two years. To find out more about the Partnership, please see Helping to bridge the nursing gap

Find out more about nursing at the OU

About Author

Hannah is part of the Media Relations Team at The Open University, working with the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies. With experience both agency and in-house, Hannah has worked on campaigns for a number of large corporate companies and brands, including RBS, NatWest, Travelodge, Audible, AA and the Royal Academy of Dance. She has completed a Masters in Publishing Studies from Oxford Brookes, and enjoys photography, reading and going to the theatre.

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