Hospital staff hard work pays off with apprenticeship degree success

Staff hard work pays off with apprenticeship degree success

WHEN Pete Looseley started working as a Healthcare Assistant on Lister Ward ten years ago at Broomfield Hospital, he never imagined he would have a degree, but now he has thanks to completing a nursing apprenticeship.

The 30-year-old, from Chelmsford, started his apprenticeship in April 2018, completed his nursing degree in April 2020, and is now a falls practitioner. 

The apprenticeship gives individuals like Pete the opportunity to earn and learn on the job while getting support from the course leaders, hospital staff and the University of Essex. 

He explained how his ward manager, Gemma Hughes, encouraged him to apply for the scheme. Pete said: “Gemma saw my potential. Truthfully, I would not be where I am if I hadn’t had her support. I thought I would have to leave the Trust to better myself but thankfully I could stay and improve myself and my nursing.”

It’s been a similar positive experience for Mitesh Patel, 34, who works on Blenheim Ward as a staff nurse at Southend Hospital. He also gained his apprenticeship degree in April last year.

He explained how apprenticeships are a great way of balancing a career, learning, family life and future prospects.

Mitesh said: “It’s been a wonderful learning experience. The Trust has been brilliant and staff on every ward I went on for my placements were all fabulous.

“There was a fixed amount of hours you had to go to the university, then self-directed study and assignments, all on top of working too. It was tough for a time as I have a family, but it has all been worth it.”

There are currently 381 members of staff across the Trust, both clinical and non-clinical, on apprenticeship programmes. 

Rachel Gray, work based learning and apprenticeship lead, explained how the Nursing Career Pathway has been a particular success.

“There have been many successes in relation to the Trust’s Nursing Career Pathway work stream in particular, which gives Healthcare Support Workers the opportunity to train to become fully qualified Registered Nurses, whilst continuing to work. 

“We were delighted that, in March last year, 23 learners across our hospitals completed their nurse degree apprenticeship training on schedule, which meant they were promoted to Registered Nurse.” 

Since then, another 19 nursing career pathway apprentices have qualified as Registered Nurses. This is a huge achievement, particularly at a time where there is a national shortage of nurses, with the additional pressure of a global pandemic.

Another 24 learners on the nursing degree apprenticeship across the Trust are due to qualify later this year.

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