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Nursing academy celebrates its first graduation

A unique nursing academy which provides newly-qualified staff with additional training and support as they make the transition from university to work is celebrating a successful first year after seeing its inaugural cohort graduate.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) launched the Norfolk academy in November 2014 to support 19 staff as they moved from study into the workplace. Of those, 18 have now officially graduated, with 13 receiving their certificates from Lady Dannatt during a presentation at the Trust’s AGM on 8 October.

The initiative originally began as a pilot project designed to respond to statistics which show a large proportion of nurses across the country leave within two years of qualifying. The academy tackles this by providing a valuable support system during the first year in post as newly-qualified nurses make the transition into the workplace.

In addition, it also gives them the chance to get together every fortnight to complete their mandatory training, along with additional specialist training and masterclasses, in turn ensuring they are able to deliver high quality care to patients.

The Norfolk academy proved such a success that its Suffolk counterpart opened in June. The model will be adapted in the new year, when it will become a 'newly qualified' academy, open to return to practice professionals as well as those who have just finished university.

Trudii Isherwood, Training Manager at the Trust's Education and Development Department, said: “We had some excellent feedback following the academy’s first year, with our newly qualified staff telling us it helped them feel valued and gave them opportunities for personal development. They also told us they feel engaged and have a real sense of their Trust and professional identity, which is great news.

“The idea behind the initiative was to give the newly-qualified staff a strong support network and structured further development during their first year in post as well as strengthening the relationships they developed as students.

“We are delighted the academy has proved such a success so far and look forward to welcoming our next cohort of students in the new year.”