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Specialist nursing academy set to launch in Suffolk

A specialist nursing academy, which will provide newly-qualified staff with additional training and support as they make the transition from university to work, is set to launch in Suffolk following a successful trial in Norfolk.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust will welcome the first students to its Suffolk academy on 15 June. It will provide newly-qualified nurses with a valuable support system during their first year in post as they make the transition into the workplace.

The academy will also give the nurses 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 Suffolk launch comes following the success of Norfolk's nursing academy, which welcomed its first students last November and has received excellent feedback from the 18 staff it supports.

Trudii Isherwood, training manager, workforce and organisational development at the Trust, said: "We are really looking forward to launching the academy in Suffolk so that even more of our newly qualified colleagues can benefit from structured further development during their first year in post.

"Feedback from the Norfolk academy has been excellent, with staff appreciating the supportive atmosphere and the opportunity to stay with the group they trained with at university. They have also told us they feel engaged and have a real sense of their Trust and professional identity, which is great news.

"The academy will ensure that our newly qualified staff have a professional and Trust identity, feel valued and are given opportunities for development which will make them change agents and effective leaders. By making this investment in our staff, we are not only benefitting them as individuals but are also enhancing the experience which service users and their families have when receiving care."

Among the first cohort of nurses to take part in the initiative is Bev Couzens, who works on the Blickling Ward, a specialist dementia assessment ward at the Julian Hospital in Norwich. The 33-year-old said she had found the academy incredibly useful, both in terms of the support it offered and the convenience it provided by arranging all of her mandatory training on her behalf.

"I think the academy is really good," said Bev, who started work in September after completing her training at the University of East Anglia. "It has made the transition from training into the workplace easier, especially as the ward is so busy. To have the support from the academy and from my peers who are going through similar things is really helpful.

"I know a lot of the people who are in the academy from university, so already have a good relationship with them. The academy also gives me the time and space to reflect, put things into perspective and find out about other people's experiences, which is really useful.

"I definitely feel the academy has been beneficial for me and think it will be an asset when it launches in Suffolk." ‚Äč