It was a time of great celebration recently as a group of former healthcare assistants from the southwest graduated as registered nurses. The newly qualified graduates had all previously completed a registered nurse degree apprenticeship funded by the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, and as such were keen to promote the benefits and opportunities that came with it.
Among the recent graduates was Rachel Towsey, Staff Nurse for the Emergency Department at the Royal Cornwall Hospital. “This is a really positive achievement for all of us,” Rachel explains. “Prior to graduation, we had all previously worked at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust as HCAs (healthcare assistants). It’s in part thanks to this that we’ve all been successful in getting jobs as nurses, many of us at RCHT.”
Rachel continues, “What was brilliant about the apprenticeship is that it gave us the necessary clinical experience to be able to progress in a clinical practice. It was that opportunity to pick up the core knowledge, building relationships with working colleagues from different backgrounds and specialties, and getting a level of support, both in terms of learning as well as financial, that perhaps wouldn’t have been possible without it.”
Rachel began her career at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in 2015 as a healthcare assistant based in the Emergency Department. Since graduating, Rachel has gone back to ED, where she credits the nursing associate apprenticeship she completed in 2020 as a vital means of gaining experience and practical learning.
“Apprenticeships don’t always get the recognition they deserve,” Rachel continues. “Those of us that qualified recently all agreed that our experience as apprentices at RCHT was incredibly important to our development as healthcare providers. The apprenticeships allowed us to learn on the job, building our skillset and making it possible to problem solve real issues with real outcomes. It was vital to us in terms of giving us the necessary confidence to be able to work both independently and alongside a wider team.”
Concluding, Rachel adds, “That fact that each of us has now graduated and gone on to the next stage in our careers really highlights the benefits of completing an apprenticeship and the role they play in developing and furthering a career in healthcare.”