Pioneering nursing associates have spoken about their hopes for their new roles in relieving the pressure on a hard-pressed hospital.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust has been celebrating its newly-qualified nursing associates who will help to provide care and support for patients.
They are part of the clinical workforce and help to bridge the gap between healthcare support staff and nurses.
Their role is another avenue for people who want to get into nursing, and frees up nurses to focus on patients who require more complex care.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ and London South Bank University and Coventry University jointly created the two-year nursing associate apprenticeship course.
Apprentices undertake academic work and clinical placements across a range of settings, including caring for children, adults, people with learning disabilities or mental health issues and care in the community.
Already 40 nursing associates have completed the course at Guy’s and St Thomas’, and 90 apprentice nursing associates are on placements at the Trust.
Qualified nursing associates can be identified by their distinctive aqua uniform.
Sharon Gordon, from Dulwich, recently qualified as a nursing associate with the neighbourhood nursing team, having previously worked at the Trust as a
health visiting assistant.
She said: “I wanted to get more involved in the clinical side of caring for patients and this was a good stepping stone without the big university fees.
“I have learnt so much, from birth to end-of-life care. Now I’m qualified I feel more responsible and have my own list of patients, providing a whole range of care including wound care, palliative support and helping patients to manage their diabetes in the community.”
Yinka Adetogun, from Southwark, previously worked at Guy’s and St Thomas’ as a reablement support worker before qualifying as a nursing associate in the adult community services team.
She said: “I signed up for the course because I wanted to climb up the career ladder and gain more useful skills. I love to help people and I’m really enjoying my new role.”
Olabimpe Abolarin, from Southwark, joined the Trust in 2017 as a support worker in the community @home team. She completed the course and is now a nursing associate with the district nursing team.
Olabimpe said: “I really enjoyed being able to work and learn at the same time. I got to meet and shadow lots of different people across the Trust so I could understand the system of each department and ward.
“I eventually want to become a nurse so this is a good stepping stone without a big student loan.”
Sue Cox, deputy director of nursing for workforce and education at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “I am so proud of everyone who has qualified during such a challenging year.
“The nursing associate role is opening up opportunities for people to work in the NHS, and provides another route for those who want to eventually become a registered nurse.”
Pictured top: Yinka Adetogun