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Becoming a Trainee Nursing Associate (TNA)

Hello, my name is Richard Sherwood and I am a qualified Nursing Associate at East Cheshire NHS Trust.

Prior to starting the course, I worked in the Accident and Emergency Department, at Macclesfield Hospital, as a Healthcare Assistant for the past 3 years.  Having 13 years’ experience as a healthcare professional has given me a good basis of understanding in person centred care, to which I became more confident in delivering in each of my placements.

I studied at the University of Chester which was a completely new experience for me.  This is due to me being a mature student, who has not attended a “school setting” for over 15 years.  I found this challenging but enjoyed every minute of it.  The support of all the staff and my fellow NA’s was outstanding and without them, it would have made this journey impossible. 

Becoming a Trainee Nursing Associate

The reasons for me applying to become a Nursing Associate are many; however, the main reason has always been to improve my knowledge as a healthcare professional.  This in turn will give me the skills and knowledge to assist my fellow colleagues in offering patient centred care patients and helping them by being able to assist them in basic daily tasks.

The interview process was quite intense, with two interviews from the trust and the University. The evening I was informed of my successful application, I was working in the A&E Department.  I was so excited and overjoyed, that I am almost certain that everyone in the Department could hear me from the car park.  Knowing that this opportunity will change my career in the healthcare profession, it was a privilege to have been chosen as one of the first TNA’s to represent the programme.    

The Trainee Nursing Associate journey so far

Throughout the programme I was met by many challenges and obstacles.  Some have been from staff who were initially sceptical about the role however, over time, they have seen the benefits of the role. This has been achieved by my colleagues seeing the skills and knowledge that I have acquired, not only due to my 13 years of healthcare experience, but by the skills and knowledge that I have gained over the diverse courses that are offered as part of the programme.  I believe this has played a major part in the acceptance of the role across the NHS.

Whilst undertaking the course, I had personally changed as a healthcare professional.  I have changed the way I look after patients by treating them as individuals and taking time to treat them holistically.  I have learnt how to support patients from both medical and mental health backgrounds, which will evolve throughout my healthcare career and ensure that I provide care of a high standard.

My future as a Nursing Associate

Although I have always seen myself working in general health, working in mental health on placements has removed the stereotype that is labelled with mental health patients.  Over the past 1 ½ years I have found a new calling and seeking a career as a Nursing Associate in mental health services will indeed be a new adventure with my new role as a healthcare professional.

It has been a privilege and an honour to be one of the first Trainee Nursing Associates.  I would like to thank my trust and University for the opportunity to improve my knowledge and skills in my healthcare career.  I will utilise this newly gained knowledge to ensure that I provide a high standard of support to my colleagues and safe and effective care to patients.  


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