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Staff spotlight: trainee nursing associate

STAFF SPOTLIGHT

Claire is a trainee nursing associate at University Hospital Southampton (UHS), undertaking an apprenticeship in health and social care practice. She joined us as a healthcare assistant in 2012 and is working towards becoming a qualified nurse.

‘When I first started here, I took a course through the Open University to gain a level 4 certificate in health and social care. Originally, I was going to apply to study nursing at university straight after that, but I was lucky enough to hear about the trainee nursing associate apprenticeship and decided on that route instead.

‘Being an apprentice has complemented my lifestyle quite well. I’m a single mother, which means I have the opportunity to work and learn, all while being paid and working hours that suit me. The Trust funds the course, too, which means I don’t have to worry about student debts in the future.

‘I’ve made some really good friends at University; we’re all in the same boat so it’s easy to form bonds with each other. I’ve got a really good support network on my ward and am always learning new skills – I’m now trusted to take my own patients, which is a massive confidence boost.

‘I really love learning, but can find the academic side of things a bit challenging at times. That’s why I really enjoy the practical element of learning, where we get to practise our clinical skills, and why I think an apprenticeship was a great route for me in particular. I really feel like I learn something every single day I’m at work, which is great.’

Claire’s advice for anyone looking at starting an apprenticeship at UHS is to go ahead and apply.

‘Just go for it. I’d also recommend making sure you have a good support network in place and getting ahead of your assignments early by planning your time really well.

‘When I’m finished with my apprenticeship, I’m planning to stay on my ward for a while to keep building on my skills and increasing my confidence. Eventually, my dream is to be a nursing associate within midwifery. I’d really love that!’

Want to learn more about apprenticeship routes into nursing? Click here.