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Home care workers can now upskill to become nursing associates 25-03-2019

A nursing associate is a new role designed to address the skills gap between health and care assistants and registered nurses. The Nursing & Midwifery Council refer to it as a stand-alone role that will also provide a progression route into graduate level nursing, enabling registered nurses to focus on more complex clinical duties.

Bluebird Care Lincoln, Bluebird Care North East Lincolnshire and West Lindsey and Bluebird Care South Lincolnshire have partnered up with the University of Lincoln and Lincolnshire Care Association to offer the Nursing Associate Programme for their home care workers.

Rachel Lear, aged 44, has already embarked on the programme. She began as a care assistant and within six months had already been promoted to a care assistant mentor. Prior to this, she was a teacher for 15 years.

She said: “I am thoroughly enjoying the nursing associate course. Every day is different, it is a good mixture of delivering care to our customers and training both at university and with our nurse manager. There is lots to learn however everyone at Bluebird Care are so supportive, giving me a wide range of experiences, which I approach enthusiastically.”

Debbie Ferguson, nursing manager at Bluebird Care Lincolnshire is supporting Rachel Lear through her training, saying: “I am really pleased to see another member of the team training to be able to do nursing.

“My job is extremely enjoyable and I see great importance in being able to provide a nursing service to people in the comfort of their own homes. Rachel is a wonderful student and I think it is great that Bluebird Care Lincoln, Bluebird Care North East Lincolnshire and West Lindsey and Bluebird Care South Lincolnshire and the University are giving her and other students this opportunity to gain further skills and make a real difference to people’s lives.”

The opportunity came about after the University of Lincoln approached Bluebird Care. It has been running the Nursing Associates Programme for two years and felt Bluebird Care in Lincolnshire would be a good fit as they offer a more clinically focused service.

The Programme offers a placement at another care provider, and Ms Lear will be doing hers in a hospital. The qualification is being funded by the local authority.

Victoria Webber, director of Bluebird Care in Lincolnshire, called the training a “fulfilling opportunity” and said: “I’m really pleased we have been able to give someone the opportunity to keep learning while also working.

"Rachel has taken to the role so well and Debbie is doing a wonderful job of overseeing her and guiding her through. Thank you also, to the University for making this possible, it has always been my ambition to give my staff as many career development opportunities as possible and this Programme is a great way a broadening the already strong options we have at all the Bluebird Care franchises across Lincoln.”

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