News and events

News and events

Health minister celebrates start of our trainee nursing associates’ journey

Health Minister Philip Dunne sitting talking with some of our trainee nursing associates

Philip Dunne, Minister for Health, visited Queen’s Hospital this week to welcome a group of nursing professionals as they took their first steps in a new role delivering frontline care.

The minister met with trainee nursing associates on the first day of their two-year journey to becoming the first generation of nursing associates at our hospitals.

As part of their induction day, the minister spent time speaking with them about their interest in nursing and healthcare, their aspirations for the future, and the local community.    

Across the country, more than 1,000 new nursing associates will be starting their training in a ground-breaking new programme which will see them working and learning as apprentices. A second wave has been announced, due to the huge demand, to come later this year.  

The role will bridge the gap between existing health care assistants (HCAs) and nurses and has been spearheaded by Health Education England (HEE) as part of a drive to offer more variety for those choosing a career in nursing. It will offer opportunities to progress, fulfilling professional and personal aspirations.

Nursing associates will deliver hands-on care, focusing on ensuring our patients get the best possible care, in the right place. They will spend two years in a working and learning environment, with one day a week spent at London South Bank University, our education partner.

They’ll spend time in a variety of settings to get a broader understanding of various healthcare partners and their roles, improving connections between agencies, and providing better care to patients.

Already experienced HCAs, our trainees will continue to work as key members of the team, mentored by our experienced nurses. Our role, as one of the four employment partners lead by Bart’s Health NHS Trust, is to provide flexibility and support, enabling them to achieve the balance between work and education.     

Our Chief Nurse, Kathryn Halford, said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity to tackle some of the challenges of attracting more people into the nursing profession.

“I believe the nursing associate role offers a new chance for people to access nursing, opening doors which they might have felt were closed to them.

“This initiative will have a significant impact in our community and I’d like to particularly thank North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT) for their help. 

“We are so pleased that so many of our new trainees are local. They and their families will rightly feel proud as they start out on this journey.”

Health Minister, Philip Dunne, said:

“It was fantastic to meet those staff at Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals who were successfully recruited to start on the new nursing associate programme. I was impressed by their enthusiasm and dedication, in particular how they see this new role as opening a fresh chapter in developing fulfilling careers in the NHS.

“The introduction of nursing associates is a further step towards opening up the nursing profession to more talented NHS staff and I look forward to following progress made as training progresses.”

Terry Carcas, one of our trainee nursing associates, added:

“I’ve been a HCA for five years. I always wanted to progress and follow a career in nursing, but the right opportunity never came up before.

“When I heard about this programme, I knew it was perfect, and did my application right there. My ward sister and my cousin who works here too were really supportive and encouraging.

“It’s exciting that this is new, and not been done before. There’s a great buzz on the ward and people are really interested to know how I get on.”

Professor Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, Director of Nursing/National Deputy Director of Education and Quality, HEE:

“It was a real honour to meet the BHRUT trainees as they start their journey as nursing associates.  They’ll be the pioneers for this important role which will be a key part of the nursing and care workforce.

“I am delighted that our minister was able to meet them and hear all about their exciting programme which focuses wholeheartedly on ensuring that trainee nursing associates develop the knowledge and skills to significantly contribute to the delivery of high quality person-centred care, which is great for patients and our profession.

“I’d like to wish all the trainees the very best for the future.”

Pictured above is the health secretary with some of our trainees.

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