A south coast care home provider has opened the latest chapter in its investment in nursing.
Six Colten Care team members are set to begin their first work placements on the nationally recognised Nursing Associate training programme.
They join eight colleagues who formed the family-owned provider’s initial cohort of trainees last year in partnership with Solent University in Southampton.
At a time of huge recruitment pressures in healthcare, the Nursing Associate role is designed to bridge a skills gap between carers and registered nurses.
It involves two years of study and work placements ahead of formal registration as a Nursing Associate with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
New trainee Nikolina Boncheva has been a Healthcare Assistant at Colten Care’s Outstanding-rated Woodpeckers in Brockenhurst, Hampshire, for ten years.
Nikolina said: “I am ready to move forward in my life. Ultimately I have ambitions to progress and qualify as a general nurse. In the meantime, I am looking forward to meeting other nursing professionals and gaining more experience on the course. The support I have had from Colten Care to take this opportunity is excellent. Any questions I have had have always been answered quickly and accurately. I really appreciate everyone’s help.”
In line with NMC guidance, Colten Care involved one of its residents in the 2020 selection process for trainees.
John Arbor, a former policeman with training and career development experience, lives at the Winchester care home Abbotts Barton and travelled to Colten House, Colten’s head office in Ringwood, to offer his input on final selection day.
Nurse Learning and Development Manager Sally Smith said: “It was a long but productive day, blessed with some great candidates. John’s contribution provided first-hand insight from a resident’s perspective. He helped the candidates to stay focused on what our overall goal is: namely, the wellbeing of our residents.”
Colten Care Operations Director Elaine Farrer said: “We care for many residents with severe frailty and complex needs. To do that successfully, we employ excellent clinical leaders and highly skilled professionals to plan and deliver care.
“The Nursing Associate role helps us in two main ways. As well as creating a career pathway for trainees who have typically been Healthcare Assistants or Care Leads, it means we can free up our registered nurses to focus on more complex clinical duties knowing they have the support of professionals who are independently recognised in their own right.”
Because of Covid restrictions, this year’s training programme has begun with virtual learning. The first placements are due to start at Colten Care homes in July 2020, lasting eight weeks. Other placements over the course will include acute hospital wards in the NHS.
As well as Nikolina, this year’s Colten Care cohort is: Kayleigh Guppy, Healthcare Assistant at Abbey View in Sherborne; Stoyanka Ruzheva, Senior Care Lead at Kingfishers in New Milton; Pratik Gaikwad, Senior Care Lead at Newstone House in Sturminster Newton; Kelly Wills, Senior Care Lead at Belmore Lodge in Lymington; and Agnieszka Ciok, Senio Care Lead at Fernhill in Ferndown.