Northamptonshire’s first cohort of nursing associates have celebrated reaching the end of their two-year training at Northampton General Hospital.
The 13 nursing associates are among the first in the country to qualify. Their role is to bridge the skills gap between healthcare assistants and registered nurses.
They will provide more support on wards, helping to administer medications and care for patients, having undergone formal training from the University of Northampton and being registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Rachel Richards, nursing associate, described her journey into the role. She said: “I’ve been working at NGH for 11 years. This programme has enabled me to receive training to further my career, with the possibility of becoming a registered nurse.
“I felt coming from theatres that my knowledge of the whole patient journey was limited. The training I’ve received to become a nursing associate has given me an insight and appreciation for different areas of the hospital.
“I’ve really enjoyed the ongoing patient interaction side of the role, as working in theatres we would only ever be with patients on a part of their journey. As a nursing associate I’m now able to care for patients and see them progressing to become well enough to return home.”
Sheran Oke, director of nursing and midwifery at NGH, described her pride in the graduates. She said: “First and foremost this new role is a way to push boundaries and ensure our teams are offered training opportunities and progression opportunities.
“Our nursing associates are real pioneers and should be proud of their achievements, drive and resilience as our first ever group of nursing associates.”
To mark the end of their studies and qualification, NGH hosted a celebration event with presentations from colleagues, mentors and representatives from the University of Northampton, Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and Health Education England.
Dr Steve O’Brien, Dean of the Faculty of Health and Society at the university, said: “The University of Northampton was one of only 11 pilot sites in the UK training the first wave. The efforts and endeavours of these brilliant students have set the foundation for future nursing associates and I wish them all the best with their future careers.”