MORE trainee nurse associates will train at Shropshire's two acute hospitals.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) has announced a third cohort of healthcare assistants have enrolled with a nursing associate programme.

Helen Coleman, lead nurse for education and quality at SaTH, said “We are delighted to have recruited from our existing HCA workforce, this shows the depth of talent we have in the trust.

"This is the third cohort of trainee nursing associates and they join the existing 18 trainees already doing the programme.

“The role has the potential not only to transform the lives of those in need of health care, but also to provide a very clear career progression for those undertaking the programme.

A total of 21 health care assistants have from SaTH have joined the two-year course, which is hosted by Staffordshire University.

The role will sit alongside existing nursing care support workers and qualified registered nurses to deliver hands-on, compassionate care for patients.

Tainees will study at the university one day per week while also undertaking full time practice at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) and the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) in Telford.

Helen Coleman added: "Successful completion of the course will see the students graduate with a foundation degree and a professional registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.”

The nursing associate programme was created in order to support the shortfall in nursing and to combat the difficulties in recruiting to qualified nursing posts.

SaTH has also introduced a Golden Ticket scheme in bid to increase recruitment.

More than 30 Student Nurses have so far been offered ‘golden tickets’, meaning they are guaranteed a job following graduation as long as they pass their Values-based conversations.

Helen Jenkinson, deputy director of nursing, said: “The recruitment of nurses is one of the biggest challenges that faces SaTH, along with hospital trusts across the country. It is, therefore, important that we look at innovative new ways of attracting nurses to our trust.

“Nursing is a wonderful vocation, and we value the contribution that our students make very highly indeed. Through the programme and by developing the Golden Ticket scheme we hope to ‘grow’ more of our own nursing workforce to further enhance the care that we give for the people of Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales.”

Despite the recruitment challenges, more than 100 Staff Nurses have joined SaTH across the specialities since the beginning of the year.