Hospital trust celebrates success of first nursing degree apprenticeship

• Nursing degree graduates from L to R – Rachel Thomas, Emma Carne and Nicola Hill.

SOUTH Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is celebrating the success of its first nursing degree apprenticeship programme with Northumbria University.

Fifteen apprentices from The James Cook University Hospital have qualified as registered nurses with a BSC honours degree in nursing and gone on to secure staff nurse roles within the trust.

The 18-month programme designed by Northumbria University has been approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council and combines a mixture of work-based placements and academic learning.

It provides healthcare professionals who already work within the trust with the opportunity to graduate as registered nurses within a compressed time frame.

Robbie Ross, clinical educator for the Registered Nurse Degree Apprentice (RNDA) programme at South Tees Hospitals said: “Our first partnership with Northumbria University is a great example of regional collaboration and has been a huge success for our nursing apprentices.

“The programme combines practical training with academic study and enables our staff to adapt to the evolving education of nursing whilst successfully collaborating with professionals from various sectors and disciplines.”

Debi McKeown, nursing workforce lead at the trust said: “As an organisation, we want to nurture our future workforce from within our local communities and the programme provides us with a platform to do that.

“It promotes the multidisciplinary approach needed to support patient care and embeds the digital abilities required to nurse in the future.”

Nicola Hill works in the same day emergency care unit at James Cook and was among those to qualify. She said: “The RDNA programme has helped me to become the person and professional that I am today and has been invaluable to my academic learning and clinical practice.

“It has given me a variety of new skills and knowledge and opened the doors to learning opportunities within multiple areas of nursing.”

Emma Carne joined South Tees in 2007 and has praised the programme for helping to reach her life goal of becoming a registered nurse:

“The apprenticeship programme has provided several avenues for personal and professional growth and allowed me to enhance my clinical skills under the guidance of experienced registered nurses whilst gaining vital hands-on experience in various clinical settings across the trust.”

Rachel Thomas, who currently works for the urgent community response team in Redcar urges others to apply for the programme:

“The course has enabled me to enhance my leadership and decision-making skills, manage difficult conversations with family members and emergency situations and perform well in my academic studies.

“I would say you have nothing to lose and a great deal to gain and I honestly feel so lucky to have had the support from the trust and Northumbria University to be in the position I am now.”