The government announced a Registered Nursing Degree apprenticeship scheme in 2016 to enable people to train to become a graduate registered nurse through an apprenticeship route.

Working in collaboration with Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Northumbria University was approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council to deliver the UK’s first 18-month nursing degree apprenticeship, which began in September.

Eight apprentice nurses are now well into their studies and when they complete the course in March 2020, they will be the first ever Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeships qualified nurses in the country.

The apprentice nurses all work as Assistant Practitioners in Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital and Royal Victoria Infirmary.

Wendy Parry said she was glad to be part of the first cohort at Northumbria.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to use our background experience and the skills we already need to improve and develop our nursing careers further. It also gives us the chance to learn the underpinning knowledge behind the things we do already in practice,” she said.

Matt Diment added: “We have been on location from the beginning of our apprenticeship and the course here at Northumbria has increased our awareness of time-management and our ability to transfer that to our existing practice in a hospital situation.”

Professor Alison Machin, Head of the Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Health at Northumbria University, said that the University was delighted to be working with Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to deliver its first ever degree nursing apprenticeship programme.

“Our collaboration builds on a long history of successful partnership working in undergraduate and postgraduate education of nurses and other health professionals. We are also working together on several exciting nursing, midwifery and allied health professions research projects, including an evaluation of this Degree Nurse Apprenticeship,” she said

Maurya Cushlow, Executive Chief Nurse at Newcastle Hospitals, added:

“It’s fantastic to see this initiative off the ground now and I’m incredibly proud to see our partnership in Newcastle at the forefront of this national development.

“As well as empowering and supporting our talented healthcare assistants to develop and qualify as registered nurses, this 18-month apprenticeship gives us the perfect opportunity to grow our own workforce.

“It supports our clear pathways of professional development here at the Newcastle Hospitals, and we’re excited to watch the country’s first cohort of high calibre apprentices flourish towards becoming fully qualified, registered nurses in 2020. We wish them all every success.”

The course has been approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council with advanced standing of 50% applied. Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is funding it using the government’s Apprenticeship Levy scheme.

Degree apprenticeships combine university study and workplace learning to enable employees to gain new knowledge and skills whilst completing a degree. This Degree Apprenticeship is delivered in flexible delivery modes. The delivery model includes 20% time away from the workplace to enable development of theory to practice.

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