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Exemplar Health Care Celebrates the Graduation of its First Nursing Associates

Recently, the first cohort of learners from Exemplar Health Care’s Trainee Nursing Associates programme, celebrated their graduation. They will now start their role as the company’s first Nursing Associates.

The learners started the programme in October 2019 with the University of Sheffield. They have spent the last two years studying to become a Nursing Associate, alongside working in an Exemplar Health Care home and completing placements in other health and social care settings.

Exemplar Health Care, which has seen seven apprentices graduate this year, introduced the learning programme to help develop its colleagues and expand its nursing workforce.

Nursing Associates worked alongside Health Care Assistants and Registered Nurses in their home, to support people with clinical aspects of their care.

The role contributes to the core work of nursing, freeing up Registered Nurses to focus on more complex clinical care.

Claire Fretwell, Head of Learning, Development and Talent at Exemplar Health Care, said: “Many health care providers continue fishing from the same pond of qualified Nurses. However, the current talent pool does not offer enough Registered Nurses to enable us to keep delivering the highest quality of person-centred care that we aspire to provide for all our residents, and support the ambitious growth of the company.

“The Trainee Nursing Associate programme enables us to develop existing colleagues, so that we can continue to grow our nursing workforce internally.”

Gemma Walker, a recent graduate from Dearnevale Care Home, said: “When I heard that Exemplar Health Care was offering an opportunity to boost my skills in care, I jumped at the chance.

“I’ve got a mortgage and a family to support, so I’d never have been able to train as a qualified Nurse by taking three years out of work to be at uni. So, training as a Nursing Associate while staying in my role meant I could learn and earn – which is key for me.”

The programme was introduced by Health Education England in 2018 to bridge the gap between Healthcare Support Workers and Registered Nurses, and build the capacity of the nursing workforce.

Victoria Parkes, Senior Practice Learning Facilitator at Exemplar Health Care, said: “The pandemic stopped placements for a time, which meant organising alternative opportunities for our learners, to ensure that they met the programme requirements for qualification.

“All graduates have had to juggle family life, learning and working though this pandemic. They have met these challenges head-on and have shown dedication, commitment, resilience and amazing strength throughout difficult times. They really have given their all and we would like to express our admiration in all they have accomplished.

“I am proud to have supported them over the last two years, and know they will do some amazing things in their new profession as Exemplar Health Care’s first Nursing Associates.”

Following the success of its first cohort of students, Exemplar Health Care offers all Health Care Assistants and Activities Coordinators the opportunity to take part in the apprenticeship.

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