The innovative Urgent and Emergency Care Nursing Associate Apprenticeship received funding from Health Education England

A NEW course at the University of Huddersfield focuses on Urgent and Emergency care systems and will help ensure that NHS resources are used as efficiently and effectively as possible.   

The innovative Urgent and Emergency Care Nursing Associate Apprenticeship has earned major funding from Health Education England (HEE), enabling the course to be launched at the start of 2021.

The University already delivers highly successful apprenticeship courses for the training of nursing associates, a new nursing role working as a key member of the nursing team under the supervision of registered nurses to deliver a wide variety of nursing care.  

Apprentice nursing associates combine their university studies – leading to a foundation degree – with paid employment in hospitals and other healthcare settings.  Many of the current nursing associate cohorts are currently playing their part in the fight against Covid-19. 

“Whilst healthcare settings are extremely challenging in these unprecedented times, this pandemic provides unique and significant learning opportunities for our learners,” said Dr Joanne Garside, who is the University’s Director of Health Partnerships.

Dr Garside and her team made an application for £100,000 from HEE’s Strategic Support Fund, which is designed to enable the launch of new courses that expand and transform the health service workforce.

The Huddersfield bid was for funding that would enable a new two-year nursing associate apprenticeship course that focuses on the Urgent and Emergency care agenda.  Professor Ian Cumming, the Chief Executive of Health Education England, congratulated the team on its successful application.

The apprenticeship allows learners to spend 60 per cent of their course in work-based learning environments including Emergency departments, nursing homes and primary care settings.

“The aim is that at the end of the course we will have nursing associates that are skilled in Urgent and Emergency care settings, focusing on ensuring that patients are able to get the right care in the right place whenever they need it.  

“Gaining insight in care in these different settings will ensure that people are directed to the right services, avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions,” explained Dr Garside.

She added that nursing associate apprenticeships in general are playing an important part in widening access to the healthcare professions.  People from a broader variety of social backgrounds and more mature students are applying for the courses, with part of the appeal that they continue in salaried employment while they study.

Also, the foundation degrees that students earn mean that they can progress to courses that will enable them to qualify as registered nurses within 18 months.

It is intended that 18 emergency and urgent care nursing associate apprenticeships will be awarded every year, in conjunction with the NHS in Kirklees, Calderdale and Wakefield.  The HEE Strategic Support Fund award will enable the University to appoint an experienced registered nurse who will support students with the specialist element of their courses.

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