New nursing role on West Suffolk`s wards
West Suffolk has become one of only a handful of hospitals in the eastern region to pioneer a completely new nursing role after welcoming its very first trainee assistant practitioners to the wards.
A total of 24 trainee assistant practitioners have started work at the hospital, spread across 14 different clinical areas. During the next two years, they will spilt their time between gaining practical experience at West Suffolk and completing a foundation degree in Healthcare Practice at University Campus Suffolk.
Once their training is complete, the practitioners will be able to take on extra duties to those carried out by nursing assistants. They will act as “team leaders” in making sure the personal needs of patients are met, while also supporting the development of nursing colleagues and helping to monitor the quality of care. In addition, they will take on some of the clinical duties currently carried out by registered nurses.
Nichole Day, executive chief nurse at the hospital, said: “We are among just a handful of hospitals in the region to pilot this exciting new role, and were absolutely delighted by the tremendous response we received to our recruitment campaign.
“We had more than 1,000 hits on our website advert, received 128 applications and carried out 80 interviews before selecting our successful 24 candidates. As a result, we’ve recruited a really good mixture of staff from a variety of different backgrounds – which is exactly what we had hoped for.
“Once qualified, the practitioners will increase the skill mix available at the hospital, leading teams of nursing assistants to make sure that patient’s personal needs are met. They will also work to bring about further improvements the quality of care we offer and the experience which patients have while at West Suffolk.”
The new recruits have come from a variety of backgrounds. Some already worked at the hospital as nursing assistants while others were recruited from nursing homes, care homes, colleges and even offices. They will wear the same uniform as nursing assistants but with red epaulets on the shoulders.
As their training progresses, the hospital will regularly update the strategic health authority on the success of the project so that it can be adapted for use elsewhere.
“We are really excited about this role,” added Ms Day. “As well as bringing benefits to patients, it has given us the chance to recruit new faces to the trust and help some of our existing staff to progress their careers. We look forward to working closely with the assistant practitioners over the coming years as their roles develop and grow.”