How it started, how did you get into being a TNA/NA?
I’ve worked as a Health Care Assistant at the surgery for 6 years and benefitted from the excellent training programme they have supported me through to develop my skills. The next natural progression seemed to be to expand my role by undertaking the foundation degree to become a Registered Nursing Associate.
What do you do as a TNA/NA?
This has allowed me to develop new skills in wound care, administration of injectable therapies and upon qualifying, training in cervical cytology. I have also increased in my knowledge of long-term conditions which has improved my role in chronic disease review clinics.
What are the benefits of having an TNA/NA to the organisation you work for, the team you work in and the patients?
General practice is under pressure to adapt and develop. With more Nurses taking on advanced roles in minor illness and chronic disease management, there is a significant role for Nursing Associates to develop and assist to fill this gap. Within my team I have been able to take a share in providing training for healthcare assistants and developing tools to streamline documentation and record-keeping by applying my increased knowledge.
What are the challenges you face?
Apprenticeships are definitely not the “easy option”. Working full time whilst studying, completing assignments, and attending spoke visits can be a challenge to manage. Additionally due to the autonomous practice we work with in GP surgeries, it can be challenging to find the time for learning opportunities. However, this is achievable with the support of the team and a bit of proactive searching.
My advice, what advice would you give to anyone wanting to become a TNA/NA?
For anyone who would like to become a Nursing Associate my best advice is to seek any opportunity to learn and don’t be afraid to ask if you can watch everything even if it seems beyond you- some of my best placement experiences involved approaching a consultant and asking to watch their clinic that afternoon! And get a good anatomy and physiology book ASAP!