Case Studies

Helping upskill the next generation of nurses

Added 31/10/2014


Following the Francis Report, the NHS placed an increasing importance on improving training to ensure the next generation of nurses showed the highest levels of care and compassion. As part of the drive, the pre-nursing experience pilot was launched to give trainees the opportunity to gain vital experience working on the wards as healthcare assistants (HCAs) to ensure nursing was the right career for them before embarking on a degree course.
Sustain was selected to provide its ground-breaking STEPS® to Excellence personal effectiveness course to 43 HCAs from across East Anglia who were taking part in the pilot.
Key challenges
It was essential for the Sustain STEPS® training to align closely with the aims of the pilot. This included strengthening the HCAs self-awareness, developing their resilience and maintaining a constant focus on the NHS’s 6Cs of care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment.
Main actions
To ensure the programme would be relevant to the specific challenges facing healthcare assistants, Sustain developed a special adaptation to give the trainees the skills they need to deal with change and embrace leadership.
Outcomes and achievements
The programme received excellent feedback from those taking part, who demonstrated improvements in courage, resilience and compassion as a result. Additional comments from the HCAs included:

  • “I am able to speak to patients more comfortably”
  • “I feel more positive about how well I work on the ward, which has improved delivery of my role”
  • “I feel able to stand up for myself and my patients”
  • “I am a lot more confident and the course helped me interact with people rather than shying away” 

In addition, a survey of the HCAs who had taken part in the course showed:
  • 80% said the course had assisted them in ‘interaction with patients’ and ‘decisions relating to future career’
  • 80% reported that participation had assisted them in delivering care in line with the 6Cs
  • 90% reported it had been of assistance in the areas of ‘compassion’ and ‘communication’ 

Feedback from Health Education East of England, which funded the project, was also very positive.
Following the completion of the pilot, an evaluation report summarising all of this feedback and detailing other benefits of the course was sent to directors of nursing from across the NHS so that the learning can be adopted elsewhere.

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