Mum and Daughter Apprentices Shine a Spotlight on Nursing Associate Careers

13 May 2024
Time to read
6 minute read
Nursing Associate apprentices Jodie (left) and Jayne (right) Goodall
Left to right: Jodie and Jayne Goodall

A mum and daughter from Ipswich who are studying the same apprenticeship together at the University of Suffolk are helping educate patients about the vital role Nursing Associates play in the health sector.

Jayne and Jodie Goodall are both studying the FdA Health and Wellbeing (Nursing Associate) degree apprenticeship at the University of Suffolk, mum Jayne in her second year and daughter Jodie in her first.

Following International Nurses Day on Sunday 12 May, the pair have spoken of their differing experiences which led them to the apprenticeship, and explained how Nursing Associates play a pivotal role in the healthcare of patients.

For Jayne, 49, the Nursing Associate degree apprenticeship offered a change of career, having worked as a learning support assistant in schools prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“When Covid hit I just ended up disliking my job so I changed path,” she said. “I got a job with the local district nursing team and worked my way up from there. My manager asked if I would like to do this course and I went for it.

“I never thought at my age I would do an apprenticeship, and being a mature learner I couldn’t afford to take three years out on a degree, so the apprenticeship route is perfect for me.”

Jodie meanwhile originally had her eye on a Paramedic Science course, but didn’t have enough experience to get into the course. The 20-year-old studied Health and Social Care at college and knew she wanted a career in healthcare.

“I would sometimes think about being a midwife and I had applied to do Paramedic Science but when I didn’t get that I thought more about the nursing area,” Jodie said.

The pair spend three days per week with their employer – East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust for Jayne and Nuffield Health for Jodie – with one day per week in University and one day per week learning at home.

Jayne said: “Learning on the job is better for me – you can see things and apply it to your course and while the things you learn on the course you can apply to the job quickly too.”

Jodie added: “All of the theory helps me to understand and think about it before I put it into practice.”

The pair have also found having each other for support has been useful, including sharing study days and talking over their learning at the dinner table.

Jayne said: “It’s been a long time since I have been to school and returning to learning can be daunting, so without Jodie I wouldn’t have got this far. But the first year was great and the second year has upped the ante, so I am enjoying the challenge.”

Jodie added: “I haven’t had a placement yet, but mum has been really helpful in reassuring me and telling me I will be fine. When I was in college I struggled so I really think that confidence has improved since I started this apprenticeship.”

The Nursing Associate role was launched by the Government in 2017 to bridge the gap between registered nurses and healthcare assistants.

Their role can include assisting registered nurses, delivering independent care, administering medication and dressing wounds, and nursing associates work across a range of settings including hospitals, care homes, GP surgeries, schools and A&E departments.

Jodie, who is employed by Nuffield Health Ipswich Hospital, said: “It’s a newer role so quite a lot of patients ask us about what it is, so it’s nice to educate people too.”

Jayne continued: “People at the moment don’t know what this role is so we are always telling people where this leads and why it is important – it’s a real hands-on, patient-facing role.”

Jayne says she would like to stay as a Nursing Associate when she completes her studies and support Jodie into going on to become a registered nurse whenever she feels ready to do so.

Jodie added: “It’s something I am keen to do and everybody is really encouraging me. When I am a registered nurse I would like to specialise and put my focus in one area, maybe orthopaedic or gynaecology. But I still have plenty of time to focus on my learning and get the experience I need.”

The apprenticeship is one of a number the University of Suffolk offers, with others including Social Work, Mental Health Nursing and Adult Nursing.

The University is also part of an innovative partnership of health and education partners which have joined together to form the East of England Centre of Excellence for Health Apprenticeships (CEHA).

The partnership, which also features the College of West Anglia, East Coast College, Suffolk New College, Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care System and Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System, aims to address gaps in the health and social care sector.

The partnership will provide apprenticeship progression routes through from levels 2 to 7 – the equivalent of GCSE levels through to Master’s degrees in the region, as well as identifying new apprenticeships in the sector. 

CEHA Project Manager Mandi Syrett said: “Apprenticeships play a really important role in training and upskilling our health and social care workforce, and the Centre of Excellence for Health Apprenticeships will help more people in the region into these vital careers.

“Hearing the inspiring stories of Jayne and Jodie demonstrates that whether you are making the first step onto the ladder or making a change of career, apprenticeship opportunities are there for everyone.”

Find out more about the University of Suffolk’s degree apprenticeship opportunities by visiting the webpage here.

For more information about Nuffield Health Ipswich Hospital, part of the wider Nuffield Health charity, visit the website here.

More information about East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust is available on the website here.

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