The Open University has been working with Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust since 2012 to deliver pre-registration and post-registration nursing degree programmes. The work-based programmes are a key part of the Trust’s learning and development strategy which helps it to deliver improved healthcare service delivery to the people of Northamptonshire.
Leigh Green works in the Urgent Care and Assessment Team at the Trust. He has worked in a support worker role for the past 26 years. Through The Open University's Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship, Leigh was ready to take his career to the next level. Leigh has found the flexible online learning and support from the University a real benefit, as he progresses through the programme and immediately applies his learning to his role.
Leigh explained: “I would recommend the apprenticeship route for the nursing degree because you earn a salary, you are supported, and the academic work builds up gently. The support is there from The Open University, and the support is also there from your employer and colleagues, so I would recommend it."
As well as the benefits that I get from training and working on the degree apprenticeship programme, there are also benefits for the Trust. It is investing in me to develop my skills which ultimately helps to develop the service and helps improve patient or service user outcomes. It helps build up the workforce and it’s about bringing new skills into the teams and into the services.Leigh Green
Registered Nurse Degree Apprentice
Sarah Pratt is a former graphic designer but is now part of the Trust's district nursing team. Sarah is enrolled on the Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship programme. With the support of tutors at the University, Sarah is learning new skills on-the-job which help her achieve her career goals and help the Trust improve its service for patients unable to get to the GP or hospital for appointments.
"I did graphic design for 12 years, so it’s quite a big change in career but it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. I think the fact that I can continue to work and study at the same time is a big part for me because I learn better doing the job.
"The tutors have been great. They’ve had a lot of contact with me. The Practice Tutor comes to see you in your placement and they phone me up to make sure I’m doing ok. The apprenticeship has had a huge impact. On my days when I’m working with my own case load, I already can see that I’m thinking about things completely different. I’m going into a visit with a more holistic view of a patient."
Anthony Hammond has worked as a Healthcare Assistant for the last 11 years. On the Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship, Anthony's study fits around his role which gives the Trust a great opportunity to create a culture where employees are upskilled to provide the best possible care for patients.
Anthony said: "There are a couple of nurses who are very good mentors and they saw the potential in myself to upskill and they pushed me into realising my own potential.
"The short term benefit so far is that I’ve gained a wider knowledge of how a multidisciplinary team works and how nurses work within that multidisciplinary team. In the long term, I'm developing myself further into being a nurse and I think it’s going to benefit the patient more than anybody."
Lisa Gammon, Higher Apprenticeships and Preceptorship Project Lead at the Trust, Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust added: “What apprenticeships have allowed us to do is to build the role around an apprenticeship for the next four years. So they grow, they develop new skills, they earn, they learn, they work, so it’s a whole different culture that we’re developing."
It brings such value to the individual because when we think about work/life balance, many of our student nurses that are on the programme have families, they have commitments, they have a job and they have to be part of a team that delivers a service. It allows them to be flexible and still be part of family life, without getting over-burdened with the study element of the programme.Lisa Gammon
Higher Apprenticeships and Preceptorship Project Lead