Oswestry’s specialist orthopaedic hospital has welcomed its first cohort of Trainee Nurse Associates – who are set to begin their training alongside Staffordshire University.

Eleven students are due to start their roles of Trainee Nurse Associates at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital later in September, and alongside this will also spend time at Staffordshire University to learn the theory needed to provide high-quality, safe, and compassionate care.

The two-year foundation degree will train a brand-new group of Nurse Associates in a bid to bridge the gap in skills between healthcare assistants and registered nurses.

Jayne Johnson, Clinical Placement Facilitator at the Oswestry-based hospital, said: “The Nurse Associate role is really important for our hospital and the future care of our patients – it’s vital we give a new generation of staff the education and practical skills they need to deliver outstanding, hands-on care.

“The programme, which the Trainee Nurse Associates will undertake for two years, combines both academic learning and work-based training in a clinical setting through close collaboration between RJAH and Staffordshire University.

“I’d also like to thank Rachel Owen, the Trust’s Clinical Placement Facilitator Support Nurse, who has worked so hard during this recruitment drive and Debi Clutton, Practice Development Nurse, who will be supporting our Trainee Nurse Associates in practice to ensure they meet all their clinical requirements.”

The Trainee Nurse Associates who were successful are Paris Bartley, Claire Baines, Jeremy Chavez, Sapna Davies, Sarah Graham, Georgina Hessey, Katie Jones, Ronnie Taylor, Kim Thomas, Katie Williams, and Kate Wrigley. All of them hold substantive posts as Healthcare Assistants at RJAH.

Allen Edwards, RJAH Learning and Development Advisor, said: “Throughout their programme, the Trainee Nurse Associates will have the opportunity to work in different parts of our NHS system in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

“At the end of the two-year apprenticeship, our Trainee Nurse Associates will be equipped with knowledge, skills, and competencies to be a successful Nurse Associate to work to a nationally recognised code of conduct.”

Once they have completed their course, the Nurse Associates will become registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council and will be able to work within NHS settings to deliver high-quality patient care.

Sara Ellis-Anderson, Interim Chief Nurse and Patient Safety Officer, said: “We’re delighted to welcome our first cohort of Trainee Nurse Associates to their new roles at RJAH.

“This role is vital to developing the next generation of our future workforce and ensuring they have the skills required to deliver the care our patients need.

“I’m already looking forward to celebrating their achievements in two years’ time, and welcoming future Trainee Nurse Associates to the Trust.”

Mike Phillips, Interim Dean of the School of Health and Social Care at Staffordshire University, said: “We are delighted to continue our longstanding partnership with RJAH where our healthcare students have always benefit from an experience which is genuinely unique and fulfilling.

“As a University committed to supporting the workforce needs of our Practice Learning Partners, we are proud to be part of the journey of educating the Nursing Associates of the future and look forward to welcoming them jointly with the Trust in September”.