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Celebrating Trainee/Nursing Associates five years on

4 March 2022

On 1 March, we held a virtual celebration event to mark the five-year anniversary of the start of the Trainee/Nursing Associate programme. Over 150 delegates attended the event from across the north west and further afield.

“Celebrating Five Years of the TNA/NA role: A Northwest Perspective” included guest talks from Lord Willis of Knaresborough, the Independent Chair of the Shape of Caring Review and Professor Ian Kessler, who’s research at Kings College London explores nurse support roles in acute healthcare, and a key-note speech from Professor Mark Radford, Chief Nurse HEE.

We also had a variety of presentations delivered by key stakeholders from across the region; the University of Bolton and Edge Hill University, East Lancashire NHS Foundation Trust and Greater Manchester Training Hub, showcasing best practice and innovative TNA/NA initiatives across Primary, Social and health care settings.

Legacy Nursing Associates and Nursing Associate ambassadors also attended and presented, explaining why they were such strong advocates of the role and showcasing how their careers had progressed since qualifying, prompting James McLean, Deputy Chief Nurse HEE, to comment:

I don’t think it will be long before we see a Nursing Associate progress to become a Director of Nursing.

The event concluded by highlighting and recognising the excellent work done by Nursing Associates and Trainee Nursing Associates in the region by including an awards ceremony.  There was hardly a dry eye in the audience. There were five categories and over 50 nominations were received. Winners included outstanding examples of clinical practice and commitment to patient care.

One of the winners, Deborah Taylor said:

I'm still smiling from ear to ear, and feel very humbled to have even been nominated.  It has been a much-needed boost to help me through my last few months in university, and the opportunity to promote the role in Primary Care, for which I'm most passionate about.

Chair, Andrea Boland, Regional Head of Nursing, reflected on the event:

It was a privilege to chair such a fabulous event that truly captured the journey we have been on over the last five years to embed this role into the workforce. It was fantastic to celebrate Nursing Associates and see how supportive and proud teams are of their colleagues.