An award-winning care worker from Narborough in Norfolk has been hailed as an inspiration following her support of an industry event. Tracy Eves, who works at the Outstanding-rated Meadow House nursing home in Swaffham, was asked to speak at ‘Skills for Community of Practice workshop’ hosted by Norfolk and Suffolk Care Support, aimed at encouraging the care industry to consider introducing ‘Trainee Nursing Associates’ (TNA) roles into their workplace.
Tracy joined the TNA scheme through her employer, Healthcare Homes, in September 2018 having been one of the first cohorts to embark on the project in Norfolk and Waveney.
The role provides individuals with a level 5 apprenticeship, fully registered by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. The study is carried out as part of their employment, and bridges the gap between health care assistants and nurses, meaning that individuals can provide hands-on care with enhanced skills to bolster the services provided by nurses.
Tracy has worked at Meadow House for 24 years, having first joined the home for work experience when she was just 14. She later took on a full-time role as a care assistant, before progressing to a senior carer, a clinical support worker and a healthcare practitioner before beginning her TNA training. Tracy won the ‘Star of Norfolk’ overall winner award in 2017 for her dedication to care.
She was invited to speak at the workshop in Cambridge in March to provide care industry representatives with first-hand insight into her experiences in the role and to give her advice to any care provider considering it for their staff. Organisers have described how the audience was moved to tears by the powerful account Tracy provided.
Tracy explains, “I was extremely keen to be involved in this event because of the huge impact the TNA opportunity has had on me.
“I never thought I would be able to work in nursing, I can’t afford the study required for the qualifications, so I saw this as a doorway to nursing, and it has given me so much.
“I’ve been in care for my whole working life and honestly believe it is the best job in the world. But this role recognises carers for the huge amount they have to offer. Their experience and knowledge means they can give so much to care settings, and with this extra opportunity they can develop and provide so much more to those who need residential and nursing support.”
Tracy has another year of study and training at work before qualifying as a TNA and currently carries out a day of study each week at the University of East Anglia and undertakes placements at care settings. Since speaking at the event, she has also been filmed at Meadow House, as part of a project underway to promote the role across the sector.
Tracy continues, “I love to learn; I’m always asking my nursing colleagues questions and honestly believe that the more I learn, the more I can give back to my residents. I would encourage any care staff to consider these opportunities when they become available. I am extremely grateful to my employer for offering me this chance, and I hope that other care settings can see the huge benefits this investment in staff can have for the people we support.”
Christine Futter, Chief Operating Officer for Norfolk and Suffolk Care Support said, “Tracy’s talk was unanimously well received and everyone thanked her for her insight and contribution. It was delivered with honesty and integrity. As a result, attendees have been inspired to consider introducing the role within their own provision and Tracy has already been asked to attend other events.
She is a credit and example to the trainee nursing profession.”