Improving the quality of care
A new programme for support workers on levels 2 – 4 of the career framework is proving extremely popular. Staff have already enrolled this year on modules and awards from the new Learning and Development Framework (LDF) – many supported by their employers, who see it as a valuable and timely opportunity to invest in their workforce and ensure that service users receive the high standards of care that they deserve.
Sharon Soong is a band 3 healthcare assistant working in interventional radiology at Derbyshire Royal Infirmary. Since she began her OU studies, colleagues have noticed how her confidence has grown. Sharon is far more aware of patients’ needs and she has a better understanding of the entire patient journey, even though they only spend a few hours in the Imaging Department. She is also prepared to share ideas about changes that could enhance the patient experience – two that have been adopted include wider use of Entonox and a flowchart she developed to request a rocket drain.
Sharon’s manager Joy Trenchard says:“She has gained in confidence and knowledge, which adds versatility and flexibility within the department.”
When Sharon completes her practice module, she will be taking on a new band 4 assistant practitioner role.“At last I feel that I am achieving more of my potential”
As nursing becomes a degree-led profession, the role of the healthcare support worker is entering an exciting new phase. Opportunities are opening up for more substantial roles with greater responsibility. The LDF offers ideal development to health care support staff who are ready to rise to the challenge:
- Introductory modules for students who are new to study at this level, or returning to study after a long gap
- A high level of student support with a strong emphasis on developing study skills
- No special entry requirements – anyone can study with us
- Clear progression through modules and awards, with stepping off points along the way
- Practice-focused learning that staff can apply immediately at work
- More confident, skilled practitioners
- Better outcomes for service users.
The Programme is in two parts. Part one, which leads to the Certificate in Higher Education in Healthcare Practice, involves studying two 60-credit modules:
- K101 An Introduction to health and social care – a broad, practical course about the nature of modern caring. Lively and accessible, the course explores how our society delivers care services, taking students into the lives of workers and service users through in-depth case studies.
- K117 Enhancing your healthcare practice – builds a comprehensive picture of the care sector, enabling students to place their own experiences within a wider context. The course recognises that many issues are common in healthcare practice, regardless of the particular professional discipline.
Students can study part one and stop there, having gained a valuable qualification, or carry on to part two of the programme.
Part two leads to either The Foundation Degree in Healthcare Practice or in Scotland the Diploma of Higher Education in Healthcare Practice. There is a wide choice of optional modules (covering subjects as diverse as end of life care; mental health; human biology; health and wellbeing; child development; and working with children, young people and families), and a final compulsory practice-based learning module.
Again, students can choose to step off at this point, or work towards a full honours degree. We also plan to offer transition into our new BSc (Hons) Nursing Programme subject to NMC approval.
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