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Apprentices on programme – their stories so far

Laura Williams
Diabetes Team at Russells Hall and Community
Currently completing – Trainee Nursing Associate Apprenticeship

I chose to undertake the nurse associate apprenticeship because it allowed me to learn on the job, fitted in with my personal circumstances and suited my learning needs as an adult especially being an adult learner and being out of education for a long period of time.

I commenced my nurse associate programme in September 2019, and I am currently at the beginning of my second year. My host placement is within the diabetes team at Russell Hall Hospital but I also work within the community diabetes team at Brierley Hill Health and Social Care Centre.

My role varies daily but I work closely with the diabetes specialist podiatrists, where I am involved in wound care, MDT foot clinics and home visits. As my role has developed, I have become involved in education in diabetes and developed my knowledge further as a nurse associate. The main challenge that I have had to overcome is getting use to academic work as I have been out of education for a while, but also having to adapt to the new way the course is delivered due to COVID 19.

During the course I have learnt new clinical skills, but also better time management and have become more resilient as a person. Overall, I have learnt than I am more capable than I first envisioned and in the future this course will help me develop myself and eventually help me qualify as a band 5 Nurse.

Leah Westwood
Paediatric Dietician Department
Currently completing – Business Administration Level 3 Apprenticeship

I started my business admin apprenticeship with the Trust in November 2020. I haven’t been here very long, but I feel really settled and happy. Before starting my apprenticeship late last year, I had never really considered doing an apprenticeship. Now I wouldn’t look back. I’m loving coming into work every day carrying out admin roles whilst also spending several hours each week doing my college work.

I work in the paediatric dietician department, based at Russells Hall Hospital. The paediatric team I work in is relatively small, consisting of four members of staff. In my role I carry out many different tasks. My role includes: general office tasks such as printing, scanning and photocopying etc; maintaining patient files ensuring they are up-to-date, organised accordingly in the filing system, and archiving discharged patients; sending written communication (emails, letters and text messages) to both parents and other medical personnel involved in the care of patients; stock checks of dietary products of the department and hospital, placing orders, taking invoices etc; booking patient appointments and sending appropriate confirmation; managing the database; and dealing with new patient referrals. Since starting my role, I have developed my skills and independence in these areas with support from my manager who is willing to help me whenever.

I have really enjoyed my apprenticeship so far. I enjoy coming into work, seeing members of the team and carrying out my general day-to-day tasks. I love working in a paediatric department, with patients ranging from neonates to teenagers. My experience has so far has met my expectations and more. Staff in the department are really welcoming and only too willing to help me, which has made me feel settled. I’ve learnt so much in such a short period of time, not only from an admin side, but also on a personal level.

In the future I hope to have an admin role within the NHS, building upon the skills and experience I will have achieved over this apprenticeship programme. I hope to work in a paediatric department as it is an area I enjoy. My manager has said that in the future a role may become available for me to still have an admin role in the department, but also learn some clinical skills and have more interaction with patients, which is something I’d be interested in.

Elleigh Underhill
Workforce Information Team
Currently completing – Business Administration Level 3 Apprenticeship

I started with the Trust in September 2019 as an Apprentice Administration Assistant in the Staff Health and Wellbeing Department. Whilst in this role I supported the day to day operations of the department, providing administrative and telephone support to the service.

In February 2020 I joined the Workforce Information team where my role was based around producing information on a number of factors such as sickness absence and mandatory training.

In March 2020 in line with the Trust response to Covid-19 I was asked to join the centralised Covid Workforce team. In this role we initially focused on centralised sickness absence reporting which included speaking to managers/staff about isolation periods as well as assisting in the production of a daily ‘Sit. Rep.’ detailing the number of staff absent each day due to Covid-19. I was also required to keep up to date with the ever changing national guidance around isolation and shielding periods and feeding back to management in case we needed to change reporting procedure.

In September 2020 the team took responsibility for centralising the administrative function of staff Covid testing. This involved creating new processes, streamlining those in place where needed and ensuring rapid access to tests and results where required. This entailed contacting individuals who had reported absent, ascertaining the absence circumstances (i.e. symptomatic, track and trace etc.), determining if a test is required and subsequently booking a test where appropriate.

I have faced a number of challenges during my apprenticeship. One challenge was having to learn how to use a number of different computer systems quickly (such as Allocate/E-rostering) in order to make sure we could accurately and efficiently report on absence.

During this time I have gained a much more in-depth understanding as to how our hospital works. Thanks to the apprenticeship scheme I have been able to contribute to my local hospital and learn many new skills along the way. I would recommend the apprenticeship scheme to anybody who is looking to kick-start their career in the NHS.

I have been lucky enough to be able to forge new relationships with clinical and non-clinical colleagues alike and I hope I have been able to help them in some way during their experience of this pandemic.

Megan Rogers-Thomas
Ward B3
Currently completing – Trainee Nursing Associate Apprenticeship

I started as a Clinical Support Worker on Ward B3 straight after doing my A levels. I had always wanted to do nursing and a band 4 Trainee Nurse Associate opportunity arose so I jumped at the chance at hands on care whilst still getting my degree.

I will go onto do my top-up year which will make me a band 5 qualified Nurse.

I love my job, my patients and the lovely staff on the ward.  Fantastic opportunity.