"I wish this opportunity had been around many years ago."
I have worked as a Healthcare Assistant in a GP surgery for approximately 20 years. Prior to that, I worked on the reception desk for the same surgery.
I have always been encouraged at work to progress and learn new things but had reached a point I couldn't progress any further with the Healthcare Assistant role, but then I was shown an email by the lead nurse in the Practice explaining the role of Nurse Associate.
I always wanted to be a nurse and would have loved to have done my nurse training many years ago, but I couldn't afford to give up work, so I decided to take a chance and apply for one of the places on the Nurse Associate course.
the first time on a busy ward was quite a shock to me, as I have always worked in primary care and most of my placements were in secondary care. However, it was a valuable experience learning the basics of nursing.
I did a variety of tasks on the wards including washing, dressing and feeding patients, as well as performing patient observations and working with my mentor doing medication rounds. I had placements in the community with the District Nursing Team, the Hospice, Learning Disability team and lots of different opportunities to learn various aspects of nursing.
The university days were always interactive and fun, with some practical sessions in mock wards. We were prepared well for any exams or assignments, and I even achieved my maths qualification: something I would have never thought possible.
I finished my apprenticeship last year and have since completed my first year as a qualified Nurse Associate. I completed the cervical screening programme and now am a qualified cervical sample taker, and I have also taken on the role of long-term condition management within our practice and love this role. I do home visits or see the patients in surgery whichever they prefer and really feel I can make a difference to patients and their families.
My role is so varied: I still do the jobs I did as a Healthcare Assistant, but many more doors have opened for me since doing the apprenticeship. I wish this opportunity had been around many years ago.
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