NHS Professionals’ established Springboard provides an opportunity for those without formal care experience to become a flexible support worker. You embark on an extensive training and provision programme and NHSP guarantees that those who pass the programme will acquire all 15 standards of the National Care Certificate.
Miriam King has recently completed the Springboard programme at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. She is now working as a permanent member of staff at the Ark Royal ward, but will continue to stay with NHSP and work shifts on other wards to build on her skills and experience.
We spoke with Miriam to find out about her experiences with the Springboard programme.
Can you tell us a little bit about why you chose to join our programme and become a flexible support worker with NHSP?
I first heard about the development programme from a parent who had done the programme two years ago. At the time, I was working as an early year’s practitioner and was very interested in working in a hospital, but I knew that I needed to have a qualification in order to find a suitable position.
The NHSP development programme was ideal because it’s a six-month structured programme, which includes both classroom training and working in a ward as a health care assistant. Therefore, I could learn and gain valuable experience all at the same time. I was offered support throughout the programme from both NHSP and my team members. I felt this was a lot better than just going to a ward and starting something totally new without much support.
What’s the best thing about working for NHSP?
The flexibility is excellent as it means you can choose which type of ward you want to work on. You can also choose which hospital you want and what hours suit you best. Having the support of NHSP via the phone or visiting my local Trust Liaison Coordinator to answer any questions or concerns was very reassuring. I have also found that NHSP agency staff are more respected than other agency staff and are usually trained better.
What advice can you give to other people in a similar situation to you who are looking to join the programme?
If anyone wants to work in a hospital and gain their healthcare certificate, I would highly recommend this programme; I have already recommended it to a few people! I would advise you to check all emails and correspondence, and to get all the correct information sent off as soon as possible to speed up the process. Also, chase things up if you haven’t heard anything.
What do you think about the training and supervision programme NHS Professionals provides?
With regards to the classroom training, we had an excellent trainer who made it fun and interesting. Some topics were a bit daunting if you’ve never worked in healthcare, but we all left with enough confidence to start our six-month training.
It was a challenge being placed on an elderly rehabilitation ward as I have spent my whole life caring and working with children and after one week of shadowing a healthcare support worker I was working on my own. The supervision programme was ok, although I didn’t see very much of my co-ordinator unless there were any problems. I also found it very hard to get support to complete the 15 standards required to be awarded the Healthcare certificate, and had to look a lot of information up on the internet.
NHS Professionals are the only company where you have to sit an exam to progress to interview stage and then a final exam to complete the programme, which I think is a very professional way to gain the healthcare certificate. I’d like to add that working for six months on a ward allows you to learn and develop your skills safely and professionally, and with support. You also get the chance to build good relationships with the team and your coordinator. I was given the opportunity to gain a secure placement, which may not have been possible had I not pursued the Springboard programme through NHSP.
NHS Professionals wishes to thank Miriam for taking the time out to tell us about her experiences with the Springboard programme. If this programme sounds of interest to you, please visit www.jobs.nhs.uk and search ‘Trainee Care Support Worker’, where you will find the latest adverts for programmes currently available.
For further information, please email the Workforce Programmes Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.