Rachel's story: Why I became a Trainee Nursing Associate (TNA)

Trainee Nursing Associate

What do you do when you love your care job and want to develop your skills and career prospects - but going to university full-time is not an option?

At Exemplar Health Care, you can consider another next step: becoming a Trainee Nursing Associate (TNA).

A TNA is a new government-backed role that bridges the gap between care assistants and registered nurses.

The TNA apprenticeship means that care colleagues can balance their time between work at their care home and university studies - alongside attending placements with other health care providers.

Pay rise

And becoming a TNA comes with a pay rise.

All Exemplar Health Care TNAs receive £9.50 per hour during training - and more once they are fully qualified in just over two years.

Back in October, our very first cohort of nine TNAs began training.

Rachel Cuckson, a Trainee Nursing Associate at Greenside Court, one of Exemplar Health Care’s ‘Outstanding’ complex needs care homes, is one of the cohort.

Rachel has been with Exemplar Health Care for 14 years.

Before becoming a TNA, Rachel worked at various care roles with Exemplar Health Care – starting as a care assistant and progressing up to team leader.

‘The next natural step’

“I’d always showed an interest going into nursing long-term,” she says.

“Doing it this way is doing it in a place that I know I’m comfortable.”

“The benefit is that it’s a full-time job. I don’t have the financial implications of being in university. Because I know this home and I worked here a long time, it seemed like the next natural step.”

Currently, Rachel studies one day a week at the University of Sheffield.

She has also had several week and two-week-long placements on the wards at Sheffield Northern General Hospital.

Training and work placements vary between TNAs - with others having placements at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital nearby.

Exemplar Health Care’s Greenside Court is Rachel’s base placement, so she still spends most of her time there.

“You’re doing the same role you’ve always done - and now you’re learning the theory behind it,” she says.

Is it worth becoming a TNA?

Rachel thinks so. “I really would recommend it. Even if you want to stay as a nurse associate or go onto full-time nursing, I think it’s a great way to do it practically, and not just sit in a lecture room.

“The good thing about being a TNA is that you’re getting a full time wage - so you don’t have that worry about taking out loans or taking on extra jobs.”

Interested in becoming a TNA with Exemplar Health Care?

We’ve made a comic below that explains why it’s worth it.

Or to find out more, email tna@exemplarhc.com

comic tna trainee nursing associate nurse

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