On the fifth anniversary of nursing associates joining the Nursing and Midwifery Council register in 2019, we spoke to Sophia Hardy, a former dental nurse who joined #TeamLUHFT to change her career path.

c5883158-28f4-4c8c-9910-99681dd9f54c.jpegHaving started her trainee nursing associate programme in September 2022, Sophia is one of over 1000 NHS colleagues in the North West who have taken the innovative pathway that is a bridge between healthcare assistants and registered nurses.

“I wanted to help people who needed it the most and challenge myself academically. I had experience working with patients in different types of dental settings, and I had also previously worked within the A&E department during the pandemic, where I swabbed patients for covid. This gave me more of an insight into how the hospitals work and I was inspired to work in a hospital setting to look after poorly and vulnerable patients”, said Sophia.

Like trainee nursing associates across the country, Sophia’s training has incorporated a number of different placements, which provide her with an understanding of all elements of nursing as well as caring for patients with conditions such as dementia, mental health and learning disabilities. Once qualified, Sophia will have the option to go further with her career progression by becoming a registered nurse through a top-up programme.

She continued: “I have enjoyed the programme. There have been times where it has tested me and my resilience, opening me up to things that I have never done or seen before and somehow, I have turned it all into positive outcomes and ways of learning.”

Sophia has previously worked in a number of LUHFT’s departments, including Cardiology and the Emergency Surgical Assessment Unit. She is currently working in Nephology and will then move on to A&E for her next placement.

On completion of her programme, Sophia intends to work as a qualified nursing associate for a year and then join the top-up programme to become a registered nurse.