Posted on 4/10/2018 by
A NEW nursing degree apprenticeship could save the NHS millions, according to leading medics in the region who have developed the scheme.
North East NHS Trusts and the University of Sunderland teamed up to create the pioneering employer-led scheme in a bid to balance academic study with clinical experience.
The programme– which could ultimately be rolled out across the country– aims to address the needs of modern day nursing which has long suffered from staffing shortages in some areas and specialities.
Professor Sheila McQueen, one of the region’s leading nurses and the University’s professor of nursing and continuous professional education, worked with local NHS Foundation Trusts to find a potential solution.
The new nursing degree apprenticeship they devised will enable health care workers already on hospital wards and in clinical teams to move up to nurse registrant status without taking them away from patients.
That could also ease the current ‘training backfill’ bill facing each NHS Trust.
Around 80 apprentice registered nurses are expected in the first January 2019 intake.
Prof McQueen said: “When I first started talking to the North East Trusts about nursing degree apprenticeship programmes they were saying ‘we’re looking for an innovative approach, a cost-effective programme and a way to minimize what could be a £6 million bill to backfill’."
The course could be completed over five years to make studies manageable alongside work and give good healthcare assistants the chance to progress.
Deputy vice-chancellor Professor Michael Young said: “This is a new, employer-led model that will upskill those with years of experience of caring for patients to become registrants, in a timescale that is manageable for the apprentices and does not require hospitals to backfill their workforce.
"It’s the first time we have seen the integration of professional practice and work based learning and I’m very pleased that the model has been so well received by our health partners.”
The model and partnership has been praised by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and could become a national model for the NHS and private care providers.