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West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust welcomes new nursing associates

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West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has announced that six new registered nursing associates (NAs) are operating across the district.

NAs work with registered nurses and healthcare support workers to provide essential care services.

The role is a recognised pathway to becoming a registered nurse.

Sophie Jones, who works with the Bury Town integrated neighbourhood team.
Sophie Jones, who works with the Bury Town integrated neighbourhood team.

Robyn Nixon is working as an NA on ward G5 at West Suffolk Hospital, while April Jones is on ward G3.

Aaron Thompson is now serving at the Macmillan Unit, Rose Dennis is based at Newmarket Community Hospital's Rosemary Ward, and Sophie Jones is with the Bury Town integrated neighbourhood team.

Vicki Firman, the foundation trust's clinical practice facilitator for apprenticeships, said: "Registered nursing associates are a bridge between healthcare support workers or generic workers and registered nurses.

Aaron Thompson, currently based at the Macmillan Unit.
Aaron Thompson, currently based at the Macmillan Unit.

"They can release nurses to work with more complex patients as they have the skills to care for patients with stable, predictable need.

"For example, they can give B12 injections, perform catheterisation, undertake risk assessments and provide hands-on evidence-based care.

"We have trained and supported these NAs through their whole journey.

"It is great to have seen these six develop and they are fantastic in practice. A great advantage is that this extra training has not left them with any student debt.

"Registered NAs can offer a real benefit to patients, giving them access to a highly-skilled workforce that can deliver the care they need.

"They support registered nurses and are role models for our support staff workforce - we know we have a cohort of skilled and compassionate support staff. NAs can stay as they are or go on to a further two years’ training and become a registered nurse.

"This role is something to aspire to, giving them the opportunity to develop and progress and for us to grow our own."

The foundation trust's executive chief nurse, Sue Wilkinson, said: "We are delighted to welcome these six nursing associates to our services in both our hospitals and community teams in west Suffolk.

"This is really exciting time for nursing and healthcare, with innovations such as the introduction of the NA role allowing us to offer more of our staff the chance to develop their careers.

"We know these six colleagues will be able to draw on their enhanced skills and learning to provide the high quality, compassionate care we strive to offer our patients."