Spotlight on: Oliver and Sarah, Trainee Nursing Associates in ChED
As Trainee Nursing Associates (TNAs) in our Children’s Emergency Department (ChED), Oliver Banford and Sarah Leonard support nurses in caring for our young patients.
“I like the role of a TNA,” said Oliver, who began in February. “We learn about lots of different areas of nursing. Despite not being as specialised as a nurse, we still deal with administering medication, supporting patients with treatments and organise and fill in a lot of the documentation.”
Sarah was the first to begin her training as a TNA in ChED in September last year. “Making other members of staff aware of our responsibilities and skills has been the biggest challenge,” she said.”I think it’s underestimated how much we can do within the department and we want everyone to know we’re always there to help and can help in more ways than they may think.
“I do like the variety. It’s great for progression because if in the future you wanted to work in a different area, such as adult medicine or the community, you can.”
Sarah completed her training and became a full-time TNA during the second wave of Covid-19: “The hospital needed staff,” she said. “Your training kind of goes to the back and so we were asked to go and do other jobs around the hospital. I was put around a lot of the different departments supporting wherever I could, having to adapt very quickly.
“During my time supporting other wards, I worked with some Covid-positive patients who unfortunately lost their lives. It was one of the most horrible moments of my life.”
The two-year Nurse Associates course consists of three placements and 12 modules with supporting coursework.
“Because of Covid, we’ve had our lessons online and not taking part in person has been a new and sometimes strange experience,” said Oliver. “It has felt rather lonely at times sitting in my dining room talking to a screen and I’m looking forward to some face-to-face lessons sometime in the future and meeting each other outside of the virtual classroom.”
Sarah added: “I’m very much enjoying it. The two years are very academic and I found it odd having to retrain my brain to study and write essays again. It’s very full on as you’re working full-time alongside your education and it can result in you being very busy. But I’d recommend the role to anyone who’s keen in getting into the medical profession but isn’t sure they want to spend the extra years training to be a nurse.”