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Michelle Simpson

Apprenticeship offers Michelle Simpson a way of funding her nursing ambitions

Michelle Simpson from Kettering had always dreamed of being a nurse. She started an adult nursing degree at University but had to give it up for financial reasons.

Now, through an innovative apprenticeship scheme, Michelle is finally fulfilling her career ambitions.  Michelle is a Trainee Nursing Associate at Kettering General Hospital through a new apprentice scheme run by Northamptonshire Health and Care Partnership (NHCP); a group of leading health and care providers in the county, committed to offering apprenticeships and growing their talent pipeline.

Michelle had been working as a healthcare assistant at Kettering General Hospital when she read about the apprenticeship on the hospital’s social media platform and decided to apply.  Michelle explains,

“I wanted to develop my job role and an apprenticeship seemed like an ideal way to further my career in healthcare without having to give up work. I’ve always wanted to train to be a nurse. I had started an adult nursing degree at University several years ago but struggled financially without an income while studying full time and ended up leaving the course because of that.”

At KGH Michelle is training on an acute medical ward caring for a variety of patients with multiple different illnesses and conditions. Her position bridges the gap between healthcare assistants and nurses and her main task is to shadow the nurses on the ward to learn how to manage the patients’ various conditions, monitor patients’ vital signs, understand when their condition might deteriorate and eventually to learn to manage medication.  For one week every month Michelle is released from the ward and spends the week studying with her peers on the adult nursing course at Northampton University.  Michelle says:

“Through the apprenticeship, I’m now in a role where I’m earning while I am learning, which is amazing. This is a great way for people who, like me felt their career had stalled, to progress.  I find the time away from the ward really valuable for reflecting on what I’ve learnt and what I’ve done over the last three weeks. There are around 25 of us in my cohort from three different Trusts and it’s great to get together each month and hear about each other’s experiences.  Working full time while studying for a degree has its challenges, but I have a really wide support network around me. There’s always someone to turn to if I have a question or concern. I have mentors on the ward where I spend most of my time, as well as mentors when I’m on placement. I also have a really supportive course leader based at Kettering General if I have any concerns and a Personal Academic Tutor at University.”

Taking on an apprenticeship has given Michelle many new key skills and experiences and she would recommend the scheme to others keen to develop their careers in healthcare.  Michelle concludes,

“I’m really enjoying watching myself grow in the profession and learn new skills. I have a year left of my apprenticeship course but I won’t stop there, there are opportunities to develop my skills further after I’ve completed this apprenticeship so I can continue to progress my career through the health service.”