Somerset chosen to deliver new nursing associate training for NHS

Date: 13 March 2017

An innovative partnership has been developed between Somerset’s NHS Trusts and local education providers to train one of the first waves of nursing associates. The new nursing associate role will support registered nurses across the county.

Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has worked with partner organisations to develop a successful bid to Health Education England.  Partner organisations include:

  • Taunton & Somerset NHS Foundation Trust
  • Yeovil District HospitalFoundation Trust
  • Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (lead NHS trust)
  • Bridgwater and Taunton College
  • University of the West of England.

Sue Balcombe Director of Nursing and Patient Safety welcomed the announcement and said:

“We are absolutely delighted that our Somerset bid has been selected as one of the pilots for the new nursing associate role for healthcare in England.

“We know that across our three local NHS trusts, we provide high quality, person-centred care, in a range of acute, mental and community health settings.

"The new role will allow trainees to work with qualified nurses across a variety of these settings while studying to become an associate nurse. Our education and training partners, who have a record of success in nursing and apprenticeship training, are well placed to attract and support suitable trainees to fulfil this new role. 

“Nurses are often the backbone of health care delivery. But nationally and locally, we struggle to recruit enough.  We are hopeful that, for the nurses of the future,this new programme will be a stepping stone towards becoming a registered nurse, particularly for those who may have struggled to access training via traditional routes. The new role will also allow registered nurses to concentrate on more clinical and specialist care which will ultimately enhance the care our patients will receive.

“I am grateful to all our partners for their commitment and innovative ideas. Together, I know we can make this role a success for existing and future staff and, above all, for our patients.”

The new nursing associate role will help forge a new career path between health and care support workers who have a care certificate, and graduate registered nurses by offering opportunities for health care assistants to progress into nursing roles.

Recruitment for the new nursing associates has started and the successful candidates will be taking up posts during the spring of 2017.