Home Nursing Apprenticeship Programme bridges gap between care and nursing

Apprenticeship Programme bridges gap between care and nursing

by Kirsty Kirsty

A Nursing Associates Programme launched by not-for-profit care provider, Sanctuary Care, seeks to bridge the gap between care and nursing roles. The two-year scheme enables apprentices to gain valuable on-the-job experience in the care sector, whilst studying for nationally recognised nursing qualifications to advance their careers.

The scheme seeks to upskill care assistants to supplement nursing and clinical teams, whilst tackling recruitment challenges facing the health and social care sector. These issues have become increasingly prevalent in recent years, with a 62% increase in vacant care home nursing posts reported between 2020/21 and 2021/22[2].

The Nursing Associates Programme is fully funded by Sanctuary Care, which provides residential, dementia and nursing care in over 100 homes across England and Scotland. It enables students to gain a level 5 foundation degree, and upon graduating, register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council to move into permanent roles as nursing associates within Sanctuary Care homes.

The apprenticeship sees academic study complemented by clinical work experience with Sanctuary Care and partnership organisations across NHS sites, GP practices, learning disability schemes and children’s services, ensuring students develop the skills to deliver safe and effective care to residents.

The programme has so far seen five apprentices successfully complete a Nursing Associate Foundation Degree at Plymouth University, the University of Greenwich and the University of Derby.

Charlie Moore, 23 from Exeter was amongst the scheme’s first graduates, gaining a Nursing Associate Foundation Degree from Plymouth University in 2021.

Charlie said: “I had initially secured a place at university where I planned to study Law, but I decided to take a gap year and joined Greenslades Nursing Home as a Care Assistant. It was never intended to be a permanent, but I loved working in care from day one, and when the opportunity to study to become a nursing associate arose, I didn’t look back.”

Charlie completed her qualifications during the peak of the pandemic which saw a move to online learning, whilst working on the front-line delivering the highest quality of care to Sanctuary Care residents.

Sarah Clarke Kuehn, Sanctuary Care Director, said: “Attracting new talent to the care sector can be a challenge, as many people are unaware of the varied benefits and career opportunities available within the industry, of which our Nursing Associate Programme is just one example.

“This scheme enables apprentices to gain valuable on-the-job experience enriching residents’ lives in our care homes, whilst earning an income and gaining nationally recognised qualifications to complement their careers”.

Along with the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship, Sanctuary Care offers an Assistant Practitioner Apprenticeship. This scheme also provides an alternative route to nursing qualifications, bridging the gap between care and nursing roles, with apprentices learning to carry out clinical duties such as monitoring vital signs and administering medication.


Billy Pattison’s Journey from the Army to Nursing Associate Apprentice

Moving from a role in the army to a career in care, Billy Pattison, 31, started his career at Sanctuary Care’s Fernihurst Nursing Home in Exmouth, which provides expert residential, dementia and nursing care for elderly residents in the local community.

He joined in 2015 as a domestic and kitchen assistant but quickly realised care was his true calling. He started his Nursing Associate Apprenticeship when he was a Senior Care Assistant and wanted to develop in the direction of nursing.

Now in the final stretch of the two-year programme, Billy said: “Working in care has made me realise the vital job that care and nursing home workers do, day in and day out, bringing that little bit of sunshine to those who need it most.”

“The Nursing Associate Apprenticeship has been great in terms of my own aspirations, but also for the home, enabling the nurses to focus on their role with my support in picking up clinical tasks. I’ve felt my confidence grow and have shown competence in the workplace; I would say to anyone considering an apprenticeship to do it!”

Abbie Troop Shines a Light on Becoming An Assistant Practitioner

After joining The Laurels Residential and Nursing Home in Derby as a Care Assistant, 22-year-old Abbie Troop knew right away it was her calling.

She completed her Assistant Practitioner Apprenticeship, which bridges the gap between care and nursing roles, at the University of Derby in December 2022.

She said: “I love knowing that I am making a difference to our residents, making sure they are happy. You build such a good rapport with the residents; they are like your family.”

Abbie has a very simple message for anyone considering becoming an apprentice with Sanctuary Care: “Go for it. It’s the best thing I ever did. I feel very proud to be here, I never thought I would be where I am now.”

For more information on career opportunities at Sanctuary Care, visit: www.sanctuary-care.co.uk/jobs

Image depicts Billy Pattison, Nursing Associate Apprentice, Sanctuary Care

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