Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has found success in a new programme that encourages Healthcare Assistants to take up professional degrees and become high-quality nurses of the future.
Healthcare Assistants, who want to progress in the nursing profession, will be offered financial support from the Trust, while they take part in a four year Open University nursing degree programme.
The Open University course, which allows participants to study at home while continuing to work two or three days a week, uses the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s minimum entry criteria, meaning that anyone with a GCSE grade C in Maths and English can take part.
This new initiative is another way in which the Trust is dedicated to bringing more qualified nurses to the Great Western Hospital in Swindon, its community hospitals across Wiltshire and in people’s own homes across the county.
Emma Stokes, a Nursing Auxiliary at the Great Western Hospital, took part in the initial pilot programme.
She said: “Working within a hospital environment gave me the confidence to apply for the student nurse position and it was encouraging to have support from fellow colleagues.
“The Open University course is excellent and I am thoroughly enjoying the challenges facing me. It takes a lot of commitment and there is a lot of studying to do but I have found it both exciting and fulfilling.
“I feel so privileged to have been given this opportunity and would highly recommend it to others.”
Vanessa Ongley, Education Facilitator at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“This initiative is a fantastic opportunity. Financial burdens often deter Healthcare Assistants from returning to full time education, but this programme allows them to study while being able to stay at work.
“The feedback we have received from the first cohort of students has been extremely positive. As a Trust we are dedicated to developing our workforce and we are hopeful that they will stay with us for many years to come.”