Health trust looking for applicants for nursing course

A unique programme offering people with a healthcare background the chance to train as nurses is preparing to start again.

Saturday, 21st January 2017, 7:55 am
Students who started the programme last March with Dr Alison Machin, associate professor (left), and Debbie Reape, of Northumbria Healthcare. Picture by Paul Kingston/North News & Pictures.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Northumbria University have teamed up to give those with substantial healthcare experience and academic study in the nursing and healthcare sector the opportunity to become nurses in 18 months.

Starting in March, the full-time work-based course will lead to a BSc (Hons) nursing studies/registered nurse (adult) degree.

Applications are now being taken, for more information and to apply visit

A course last March saw 10 trust staff who had previously worked in nursing assistant roles take their first steps to becoming nurses.

The self-funded course is a mix of classroom-based teaching simulated clinical skills and hands-on practical experience.

Candidates who successfully complete the course will have the opportunity to apply for a job with the trust.

Debbie Reape, interim executive director of nursing at the Trust, said: “Our 18-month nurse training programme caused quite a stir in the nursing world when it was launched in March last year and we are delighted with how our recruits are progressing.

“While we continue to provide opportunities for your own staff to take the next step up in their careers, we are pleased to be able to cast the net wider and open this unique programme to people across the region.”

“If you’ve always wanted to train as a nurse, have substantial experience working in a healthcare setting and a foundation degree or equivalent, this is an excellent route for you to get into nursing and train with one of the best trusts in the country.

“Like every trust in the country we’re facing real recruitment issues and are passionate about building on our strong foundations of nurse training and playing our part in developing the workforce of the future.”

Applicants will be put through a rigorous application and assessment process with strict criteria to determine their previous experience and suitability, before being shortlisted for the programme.

At the end of the course, the students will be ideally placed to work in hospitals or in the community.

Professor Pam Dawson, associate pro vice chancellor for strategic workforce planning and development in Northumbria University’s faculty of health and life sciences, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Northumbria Healthcare, a leading NHS trust, and together we have trail blazed, looking at new ways of working to develop the workforce for the future.

“Thanks to our successful partnership with the trust we are delighted to be able to offer this innovative course to a wider audience.”

Rachel Heron is one student who joined the 18-month programme in March 2016 and is training to be a nurse. The 22-year-old from Blyth previously worked in the Northumberland Sexual Health Service for almost six years and is very impressed with the course.

She said: “So far the course has been great. I have particularly enjoyed my placements which have been in acute elderly medicine, community nursing and emergency care.

“Although there are still endless opportunities within the nursing field, I feel these have given me a good grounding and prepared me for the transition to staff nurse.”