Enabling care workers to join Nursing Associate Apprenticeship

Pioneering collaboration between health and care enables a new role to bridge the gap between Care Workers and Registered Nurses.

Four care workers from East London have been enrolled as Apprentice Nursing Associates (ANA) at the University of East London. Unusually, they are employed by Care Providers who do not employ a Registered Nurse, only accessing the apprenticeship through a unique system partnership.

The Nursing Associate role was introduced in 2016 as a highly trained support role within nursing, bridging between unregulated Healthcare Assistants (HCA) and Registered Nurses. Nursing Associates are regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and work under the direction of Registered Nurses to deliver care based on agreed plans. 

Care City is leading on this ground breaking pilot, with grant funding from Skills for Care through the Workforce Development Innovation Fund and East London Health and Care Partnership and supported by North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT), Barking, Havering & Redbridge Community Education Provider Networks (BHR CEPN) and the University of East London (UEL).  

The pilot is focussed on a system challenge; as care homes and domiciliary care providers support people who are sicker and more complex, they need greater clinical skills. They would benefit hugely from developing Apprentice Nursing Associates within their teams, but they do not have a Registered Nurse who can fulfil the essential supervision and assessment functions required for the programme. This ‘ANA Catch-22’ is a barrier to innovation, and to the ambitions of many care workers across the country.

The long-term aim is to remodel the Residential Home and Domiciliary Care Agency workforce to include the qualified Nursing Associate role, continuing to utilise this ‘arms length’ supervision model, so helping to integrate health and care.

At the same time, we aim to create a pathway into nursing for care staff, helping talented East London care workers to enhance both the support they provide to service users and their own careers.

Together with UEL, BHR CEPN and NELFT, Care City is working to solve this problem, beginning with the four pioneers who enrol today. They will receive a new model of ‘arms-length’ supervision from a nurse at NELFT, Lauren Thorpe. With Lauren’s support, over time they will build collaborative networks of supervision, learning from the GPs, District Nurses and other clinicians who support their service users.

Care Workers from Kallar Lodge Residential Care Home and Ebury Court Care Home, both based in Romford and Lodge Group Care, a domiciliary care provider are the first to participate in this pilot.

Benefits of having a registered Nursing Associate on the team include:

We are very lucky to have a skilled, passionate, workforce who have a passion for learning. We encourage and support our carers to follow their goals and dreams in whatever career path they wish to pursue. Working in the healthcare sector, many of our carers aspire to become trained nurses, but due to family commitments, financial worries, to name just a few, many of them feel that it will always just be a dream.

However, the ANA programme has helped them to make a real step towards this dream, providing an opportunity to learn whilst still working. This will not only benefit our carer who is extremely excited to start the course, but our company also, who will now have an Apprentice Nursing Associate in training, on the team.

Katie Coffey, Lead Trainer, Lodge Group Care


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