Congratulations to new nursing associates

Wednesday July 1, 2020

Western Sussex Hospitals first five RNAs graduate after a two year Higher Education apprenticeship, including 2,300 programme hours of protected learning time to achieve an equal balance of theory and practice, caring for people of all ages in a variety of healthcare settings. But what is a nursing associate?

Congratulations to Western’s five newly registered nurse associates working at Southlands, Worthing and St Richard’s, who have qualified with the full support of their managers after completing two year foundation degrees.

Nursing Associate, or RNA, is an exciting new role developed by Health Education England to bridge the gap between healthcare assistants (HCAs) and registered nurses (RGNs). RNAs contribute to the core work of nursing, with the aim of freeing up RGNs to focus on more complex clinical care. The role also provides a new route to follow into graduate-level nursing.

RNA Peggy-Jane Murrell was formerly an HCA working at Western Sussex Eye Care | Southlands. She said: “Within my team they could see there was a need for a nurse associate, so I had the full support of my manager to enrol on this course. It feels great that I can apply my new skills to benefit the team.”

They will support our RGNs to deliver safe, high-quality care

Peggy-Jane can now scrub independently which frees up the RGNs for other duties. She can also now prepare the sterile surgical trolleys and all the equipment needed, again, saving time for other members of the team to focus on other activities.

Deanna Gibbs was also an HCA before qualifying as a new nursing associate working on Castle ward in Worthing. “It feels great to have qualified,” said Deanna. “I can now have a bay of patients that I can attend to and I just need a supervisor to assist with the tasks that we can’t do.” These include inserting an IV line or making a change to a patient’s care plan.

Preceptorship sister, Kathryn Proudfoot, has supported the five new RNAs during their two year programmes. She said: “RNAs are a great asset to the trust and we look forward to more cohorts in the coming years. This is a brand new role so we are all learning as we go. It is important that everyone in the trust understands the role so we can all work together effectively as a team.”

Chief nurse, Dr Maggie Davies, added: “I wish to say huge congratulations to Amy, Deanna, Sarah, Kirsty and Peggy who have marked an exciting milestone with the start of thousands of nursing associates joining the NHS over the coming years – bringing with them valuable skills which will have a hugely beneficial impact on patients.

“They will support our RGNs to deliver safe, high-quality care, and crucially help free up their time to focus on more specialised areas of patient treatment.”

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