02/11/2018 | Press releases

New nursing role to boost patient care and workforce

A new nursing role is set to boost the local NHS workforce and help improve patient care.

A successful two-day recruitment event was held at the Iceni Centre at Colchester Hospital on 29 and 30 October for potential trainee nursing associates to join a new training programme, accredited by the University of Suffolk.

The nursing associate is a new role which has been registered through the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

Director of Nursing for Colchester Hospital Melissa Dowdeswell, of East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), said: “It’s a very supportive role, specifically to registered nurses so they can provide care to patients with more complex needs, it frees them up.

“They can support health care assistants as well and go on to a two-year top up programme to become registered nurses if they so wish.

“Like most trusts nationally, we have a high vacancy rate and are unable to fill our vacancies as there are not enough people to fill them.

“The workforce is changing in the NHS, times are changing and demand and patient needs are changing – we need to roll with that.

“This role is a registered role which offers trust and reassurance, to not only other registered professional staff members, but to the public as well.”

The two-year apprenticeship course will be the equivalent of a level four foundation degree.

Once the students successfully complete the course they will be entered onto part of the NMC register.

Registration for the course starts in January, and candidates will have jobs at the end of the programme.

Organisations who were part of this week’s sustainability and transformation partnership (STP) recruitment event were:

  • NELFT NHS Foundation Trust
  • Healthcare Homes
  • Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT)
  • Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT)
  • Provide
  • ColTe Partnership

Under a DPS Framework Agreement a Nursing Assistant Accreditation Agreement was awarded to the University of Suffolk on 25 September. It is a pilot scheme that’s supported by Health Education England. As well as one to one interviews, group activities also formed part of the recruitment process, this included saving a group of people on a lifeboat and starting a new civilisation on a desert island.

Meet some of the potential students



Clare Ruffell, 43, HCA on D’Arcy Ward at Colchester Hospital

“I’ve got a chance to maybe go on and do my nursing degree. It will definitely help on the wards and extend the skills I’ve already learnt, the support is already there, they’re a really good team.

“It’s quite exciting, the thought of going to university, I’ve never been so it would be something different. I’ve got one son at university and one is about to go, so now it’s my turn. I can’t wait to find out.”


Olamide Oluwajana, 29, HCA at Goodmayes Hospital, London

“I applied to improve myself. The lifeboat challenge was quite challenging as you’re dealing with different personalities, but it was good to hear other people’s opinions and take them on board.”


Melissa Stanhope, 19, carer

“I always wanted to be a nurse, but college wasn’t for me. When I left college I did an apprenticeship in an office, got made redundant and then I got a carer role locally and haven’t looked back since.

“I think the role is a really good idea, I’ve never heard of anything like it before. It’s completely different to anything else.”

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