New Trainee Nursing Associate course launched to support local healthcare

A new course which will train over 100 new nursing associates to support healthcare in the Black Country, Shropshire and Staffordshire has been officially launched.

The Trainee Nursing Associate (TNA) is a new member of the nursing family. The new role is part of a wider plan to diversify and expand the NHS workforce. Trainee Nursing Associates will be highly trained, and work alongside healthcare support workers and qualified nurses focusing on patient care.

The role aims to bridge the gap between healthcare support workers and registered nurses, enabling nurses to spend more time on clinical duties and take more of a lead in decisions about patient care.

Eleven test sites were chosen by Health Education England (HEE) to deliver the first wave of training, starting this month, and the University of Wolverhampton’s bid was the only one in the West Midlands.

Led by Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, the partnership covers a wide area including Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell and West Birmingham, Walsall, Burton, Shrewsbury and Telford, Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

The new TNAs are drawn from across the partnership area. A second cohort of Trainee Nursing Associate will start their course in April.

The Trainee Nursing Associates will gain experience in a range of healthcare settings over two years as they work towards a Foundation Degree (Sci) Nursing Associate.

Jill Williams, Strategic Lead for the Institute of Health Professions at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “We are delighted to have been successful in our joint bid for funding to provide training to more than 100 new Trainee Nursing Associates. The role is part of a wider plan to diversify and expand the NHS workforce.  The Trainee Nursing Associates will be highly trained and will work alongside health care support workers and qualified nurses to enhance patient care.

“The students will gain valuable practical experience as part of the training programme, which will include placements in community settings.”

Linda Pascall, Associate Director of Nursing from Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We are very excited and privileged to lead one of the 11 national test sites and it is a great opportunity to shape the future of nursing.”

Trainee Nursing Associate Emma Whitehouse, a Clinical Support Worker on the Children’s Ward at Walsall Manor Hospital, said: “I have done all my healthcare training at the Manor Hospital and I wanted to further my knowledge and get more qualifications where I enjoy working. It appealed to me because it will involve more hands-on work and I enjoy working with the patients and the families. I am really excited about starting, especially going into the different workplaces and placements.”

Service user Sue Higgs is part of the University’s SUCCESS* group, which was involved in the recruitment of the trainees through an interview and scenario based process. She said: “I think it is tremendously exciting to be involved in the start of this, and we wish good luck to all the trainees. The support that the students receive will filter into their professional lives and the working life of the NHS – nurses are under pressure so we are helping bit by bit. It is very satisfying to be involved.”

2,000 Trainee Nursing Associates will begin training in 2017 nationally in a new role that will sit alongside existing nursing care support workers and fully-qualified registered nurses to deliver hands-on care for patients.

The new role is expected to work alongside care assistants and registered nurses to deliver hands-on care, focusing on ensuring patients continue to get the compassionate care they deserve.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) have agreed to regulate Trainee Nursing Associates in the future and are preparing to set regulatory standards and provide a framework for education for this new role.

For further information about Trainee Nursing Associates visit:

*Service Users and Carers Contributing to Educating Students for Services (SUCCESS)