University Centre Somerset launches pilot scheme for Nursing Associates

The University Centre Somerset, part of Bridgwater & Taunton College, was buzzing with 24 excited trainees alongside colleagues from University of the West of England (UWE), Somerset Partnership, Yeovil District Hospital and Musgrove Park Hospital, celebrating the launch of the new pilot scheme for a Nursing Associates Foundation Degree.

The group received talks from Mike Robbins (Principal of Bridgwater & Taunton College) and Dawn Dawson (Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust), around the importance of this new national course, before enjoying a networking lunch.

The Nursing Associates Foundation Degree has been developed in collaboration with UWE and is being delivered by the University Centre Somerset at the Taunton site.  The College is one of only two Further Education institutions nationally to be offering this pilot scheme. The trainees have come from Somerset Partnership, Musgrove Park Hospital and Yeovil District Hospital.

The two year programme will offer a range of placements including caring for patients in hospital, at GP practices and in their own homes. The course offers Healthcare Assistants career development and a step towards becoming a registered nurse whilst gaining experience in different areas of healthcare.

Dawn Dawson, Deputy Director of Nursing and Patient Safety at Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, commented: “The programme has been developed to enhance the delivery of high quality care to people in Somerset and bridge the gap between Healthcare Assistants and Nurses. We are looking forward to seeing a successful pilot programme that we can subsequently roll out more widely.”

Mike Robbins, Principal of Bridgwater & Taunton College, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen as a delivery partner for this pilot project, which is the first of what will be many new higher education programmes offered through our University Centre. We are pleased to be supporting the Health & Care sector in which we have established a strong reputation for education and training.”

The pilot will be monitored through its duration with the hope that it will become available for new applicants in the near future.