Trainee Nurse Associate Liane Lucas celebrates new found TNA Ambassador status
Five years ago I decided to take my career in a new direction, embarking on a new challenge with the NHS as a Trainee Nurse Associate (TNA).
A couple of weeks ago I heard the news that I had been successful in my application to become a TNA Ambassador on behalf of Health Education England (HEE). A huge personal achievement for me, and a reason to pause and reflect on just how far I have come.
I started my career in September 2015 at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust as a band 2 Health Care Assistant (HCA), starting in Outpatients. I progressed to a Trainee Nurse Associate in March 2020.
Working as a TNA is a fantastic opportunity to really make a difference within the NHS, with the added benefit of rotated placements so that you can find where your passion really lies. Personally, I absolutely loved my time in A&E working in the Resuscitation area. The pace kept me constantly busy and the people were so friendly.
As a TNA you go from a band 2 to a band 3 as you train, completing a two year course under Teesside University whilst working full time for the trust one day a week. At the end of the training you qualify as a band 4 Nursing Associate with a foundation degree – and a wealth of experience on the front line!
I wanted to become an ambassador for the role with HEE because I really want to fly the flag and encourage more people who are thinking about a career with the NHS to consider this role.
The training is slightly different to that of a traditional band 5 nurse, though the level of learning is exactly the same, as a trainee you follow a slightly different learning pathway. It’s a new role so it’s taking everyone a little time to get their head around, but people have been overwhelmingly supportive of my development. The relationships I have built are invaluable – I’ll stay with Northumbria healthcare forever!
I’d like to think that I can inspire people to follow in the same footsteps and finally find their forever career. I want to appeal to those who are not necessarily high achievers in their grades at school – to show them this is another route into the world of healthcare. And for those who are older too – I didn’t start my career with the NHS until I was 34, so it’s never too late.
An important part of my role as an ambassador will be going out to different colleges and schools to their careers days, promoting the role and encouraging young people to consider a future in nursing.
But it is important that I help existing TNAs within the trust too who need advice and support. As the only ambassador within our organisation, it is a huge responsibility, but one that I am ready to take by the reigns.
What would I say to someone considering the role? Just jump in feet first and do it! Enjoy every minute of it – it’s really good learning, fantastic experience and you really do see every inch of the hospital. You get involved in all services that the trust provides and you come out with a foundation degree at the end of it all. What are you waiting for?