National award for Plymouth’s Nursing Associate programme

Pictured (L-R) are: Lucy Llewellyn from Kingston University, one of the judges and the presenter of the award; Sandy Knowles, Nursing Associate Programme Lead at the University of Plymouth; Jenita Loheswaran, second-year student Nursing Associate at the University's Truro School of Nursing; Lisa-Marie Rowe, Deputy Programme Lead; and Steve Ford, Editor of the Nursing Times.

The University of Plymouth has been named Nursing Associate Training Programme Provider of the Year 2022 in the Student Nursing Times Awards. 
Held at Grosvenor House Hotel on London's Park Lane, the awards celebrate excellence across all specialities of nursing and education. Taking the award after being nominated for the second year running, the programme was praised for its strong focus on improving patient safety through promoting high quality person-centred holistic care, underpinned by research-based practice.
Plymouth launched its Nursing Associate programme back in 2018, following the introduction of the role to the NHS in 2016. The government had announced that the role would bridge the gap between unregulated healthcare assistants and registered nurses, and it was developed by Health Education England (HEE).
The popular higher apprenticeship at Plymouth enables employers within the region to develop their staff whilst building capacity and capability within their teams. Employees can continue in paid employment whilst working towards the academic qualification at the same time, and which leads to eligibility for entry to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) professional register upon successful completion of the programme.  
Sandy Knowles, Lead for the Nursing Associate programme at the University of Plymouth, said: 
“We are beyond thrilled to have been recognised for our Nursing Associate programme, as we’ve worked so hard to equip and empower our students to develop their clinical knowledge and skills to robustly contribute to nursing teams and patient care across a range of sectors. 
“The Student Nursing Times Awards are some of the most prestigious in the sector, and it’s testament to our University and practice colleagues, as well as our excellent and inspiring students, whose hard work and commitment have helped us to win.”
<p>Sandy Knowles</p>
<p>Louise Winfield</p>
Louise Winfield, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Plymouth, added: 
“As the largest provider of healthcare programmes in the South West, we are extremely proud of what we offer to healthcare organisations across the region and future healthcare professionals – and this award is further confirmation of how brilliant these programmes are.
“Whether it’s traditional degree-style study, or a higher or degree apprenticeship, there are many more ways into nursing now, and we’re pleased that the Nursing Associate programme in particular has been recognised with this award.” 
Steve Ford, editor of Nursing Times, said: 
“Congratulations to all our winners at the Student Nursing Times Awards 2022. Once again, I was really impressed by the strength of entries that we received this year. Our awards recognise a group of outstanding students on their journey to entering the nursing profession, as well as all those who support them along the way, including lecturers, universities and healthcare providers. 
“They celebrate students from all over the UK and at different stages of the nursing education journey, from first years to those who have recently qualified. Their innovation and achievements so early in their career already mark them out as sources of inspiration and rising stars for the future. 
“Meanwhile, the winning higher education institutions and placement providers demonstrate the constant evolution and development in the way the next generation of nurses are educated, equipping them to deal with the challenges they will face and to provide the best care possible.” 

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