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Birmingham Children's Hospital support workers begin two year training as part of national pilot scheme

Eight Clinical Support Workers from Birmingham Children's Hospital are taking their careers in a new direction this week, as they begin their training as part of a national pilot, to become Nurse Associates.

Dionne McNicholas, Kerry Coughlan, Rebecca Murray, Georgina Hargreaves, Michelle Burgher, Gareth Mattey, Kellie Dey and Julie Rushton are being seconded today on a two year brand new training programme, delivered at Birmingham City University as part of a nationwide NHS and Health Education England initiative.

Birmingham Children's Hospital is in the second wave of this national initiative to trial the new role and its training, as part of the Birmingham and Solihull partnership. It aims to bridge the gap between Clinical Support Workers and Nurses by providing more support to nursing teams on wards to free up some of their time to concentrate on other elements of patient care.

With a foundation degree under their belts by April 2019, the Nurse Associate roles are being introduced in hospitals up and down the country. At Birmingham Children's Hospital the roles will bring additional support to nurses in areas such as checking and administering medicine - something Clinical Support Workers are not currently trained to do.

Training will be made up of 40% study and placement time, and 60% in their current work environment. Once qualified, Nurse Associates will be able to work in NHS hospitals alongside both Clinical Support Workers/Health Care Assistants and qualified nurses to deliver high quality patient care.

Michelle McLoughlin, Chief Nurse at Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Foundation Trust, said:
"We're really excited to be part of this national initiative and to see the benefits these new roles will bring to Birmingham Children's Hospital. Good luck to our talented eight who start their training today and who volunteered to be part of something which is not only very new to us but also the whole of the UK.

We hope this work-based learning programme will build on their existing knowledge and skills as well as equip them with the additional competence and confidence to become Nurse Associates. This will be a great help to our nursing teams and ultimately enhance the care we give to our children and young people."

Other Trusts in Birmingham who are part of this second wave are Heart of England Foundation Trust and also University Hospitals Birmingham. All hospitals involved offer something slightly different but a total of 65 trainees across all three will officially start their training this week at Birmingham City University.

The course and role will also offer a stepping stone into nurse training, should trainees choose to do this.

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