Auxiliary nurses trained up for Midland hospitals under new project

More than 100 old-style auxiliary nurses will be trained up to work across the Black Country and Staffordshire when a new course is launched later this month.

Auxiliary nurses trained up for Midland hospitals under new project

The group, who will study at the University of Wolverhampton, are among the first wave of trainees in the UK following the Government's announcement a year ago that it was creating a new nursing support role.

To be known as nursing associates, they will work alongside healthcare support workers and qualified nurses focusing on patient care.

The move is part of a wider plan to diversify and expand the NHS workforce.

The role aims to bridge the gap between healthcare 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 to deliver the first wave of training. The University of Wolverhampton's bid was the only one in the West Midlands.

Led by Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, the partnership with the university covers a wide area including Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell and West Birmingham, Walsall and Staffordshire.

The chosen candidates were drawn from across these areas.

A second batch of trainees will start a new course in April. Students will be given experience in a range of healthcare settings over two years as they work towards a Foundation Degree (Sci) Nursing Associate.

Jill Williams, of the Institute of Health Professions at the university, said: "We are delighted to have been successful in our joint bid. 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 programme, which will include placements in community settings."

Linda Pascall, associate director of nursing at the Walsall 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."

Two thousand nursing associates will begin training across the UK this year.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council has agreed to regulate them and are preparing to set regulatory standards and provide a framework for education for the new role.

Professor Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, director of nursing at HEE, said: "Our consultation showed that there was a real appetite for this role, which can provide a real benefit to the nursing and care workforce and play a key role in the delivery of patient care with safety at its heart."

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