The NHS and university professionals have welcomed the first group of trainees in the region hoping to become nursing associates, a new support role for nursing in the NHS and social care.
The first group of trainees have started their two-year training course, which will lead to them becoming fully-qualified nursing associates.
There are 11 test sites in England with universities and local partners in the NHS having been selected to lead the development of this important addition to the care team.
The trainees are set to complete training in January 2019.
Ruth Smith, the nursing associate lecturer at the University of Northampton, said: “We’re very pleased to welcome into this first ever cohort of Nursing Associate trainees.
"Exciting times and challenging work lie ahead, which we know our students are more than capable of handling.”
Nursing associates will sit alongside existing healthcare support workers and fully-qualified registered nurses to deliver hands-on care for patients.
Although it is a full role in itself, nursing associates can later use it as a route to training to become a degree-level nurse.
A recent learning event, led by the East Midlands Collaborative test site, showcasing the training currently being undertaken by Nursing Associate trainees in Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire.
Senior nurses from Health Education England and others welcomed the trainee nursing associates into the nursing family, while trainees took part in workshops to help them understand the key issues at play in the health service.
These included pre-hospital care and the interplay between public health and mental health wellbeing.
Bridget Hoad, East Midlands Regional Programme Manager (Nursing Associates) added: “Our trainees are still at an early stage in their new careers.
"However, their enthusiasm and commitment demonstrate the strong determination they have to succeed in supporting delivery of excellent, safe patient care in conjunction with their graduate nurse colleagues and the wider nursing team. We are proud to be part of this journey.”