ULHT was one of the first NHS Trusts to introduce the trailblazing role of the Nursing Associate (NA) back in 2017 – a new nursing post developed by the NMC proposed to bridge the gap between health care support workers and band 5 registered nurses.
Two years on, we’ve caught up with one of the newly qualified NAs and a current trainee, to find out how they’re getting on and how they fit into the nursing establishment at ULHT.
Former Health Care Support Workers, Amanda Gill, 43 and Claire Burnett, 42, are both on exciting journeys across ULHT.
As part of the nursing team – they are getting to grips with their respective nursing associate roles, a brand new type of nursing post aiming to increase the hands on patient care across our hospitals.
Amanda qualified in January this year and was in the initial cohort of trainee nursing associates who started in post back in 2017.
Now a full time NA on Waddington Ward at Lincoln County Hospital, Amanda said she’s enjoying her challenging new role, although admits that there are still a few grey areas when it comes to pinpointing exactly where the nursing associate role sits in the NHS.
“My day starts the same as the nurses on the ward,” said Amanda.
“We have a huddle with all the staff and I do a handover for my own set of patients – I basically do a lot of the same work as a nurse, except for the coordination and administering of IVs. My role is a band 4, but I’m treated very much as part of the nursing team. That’s what I tell people I do – I’m not a registered nurse but I do nursing. I love it and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I do have a PIN, so I am registered with the NMC and fully accountable for the decisions I make and any care that I give.
“On paper, I guess there doesn’t appear to be much of a difference between a nursing associate and a nurse, but we work alongside them, help with medication rounds and observations. I also know my limitations and know my patients – I’m not put under any pressure and I don’t do anything I’m not confident in. The best thing about my job is the team I work in and the support I get. I also love the patient care I get to deliver and the constant ongoing learning involved – I’m learning something new every single day.”
Trainee Nursing Associate, Claire Burnett, echoed many of her colleague’s sentiments, while also drawing on the invaluable experienced she gained while working as a band 2 HCSW.
“It really made such a difference,” said Claire.
“I always wanted to be a nurse and this job has enabled me to start down that road. I love my time on the ward and also really enjoy my insight days with the different departments – they give you a real insight into how things link into the ward and why you’re doing what you’re doing. The team on Greetwell Ward is also amazing but the patient contact is the best thing about the job.
“I get the chance to really make a difference and at the end of the day, if you can make a patient smile or make their day a little bit better, that’s the best reward you can possibly get. As a trainee nursing associate I am the eyes and ears of the whole ward, able to help out and assist the qualified nurses with their tasks. I’m finding that I’m flying through the ward and practical work, but the university work is quite challenging – I haven’t had to write an assignment for quite a while.
“I’m the oldest person on my course, with the youngest child and I also have older teenagers, so it’s certainly not been a breeze. But I love the job and we’re adult learners, so you have to put the work in, do it yourself and prioritise.”
If you want to know more about the role of Nursing Associates and how you can progress along the nursing career pathway, contact the Talent Academy on 01522 597596.