31 March 2022

An Apprentice Nursing Associate from the School of Health, Sport and Bioscience has been recognised for his contribution to the health and safety of the care home residents he supports.

Care worker Ajeesh Thomas was recognised for his outstanding performance at the Chief Nurse Adult Social Care awards on 30 March.

The Silver Award, presented by Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care, Deborah Sturdy OBE, recognises the commitment Ajeesh, a senior care coordinator at Ebury Court Care Home in Romford, has made to improving the well-being of the residents he cares for, in addition to training, coaching and supporting his colleagues across the home.

Ajeesh has earned a Level 3 Diploma in Palliative Care, one at Level 4 in Health and Social Care and a Level 5 Diploma in Leadership and Management. He is one of three care workers who have been enrolled as Apprentice Nursing Associates (ANA) at the University of East London (UEL).

The Apprentice Nursing Associate Innovation programme supported by UEL was grant funded by Skills for Care through the Workforce Development Innovation Fund and North East London Health and Care Partnership and supported by Care City, North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT), and Barking, Havering & Redbridge Community Education Provider Networks (BHR CEPN).

Ajeesh said, "I would love everywhere in social care to have an Apprentice Nursing Associate. I think everywhere needs the role - primary care, social care and the NHS!

"For me it's the biggest part of widening participation since 2016 and a great opportunity for people with limited qualifications, but lived experience, to work in social care and help them care for patients in a much more evidence-based way, developing their skill set and the rationale for what they are doing."

The Chief Nurse Adult Social Care awards have been developed to reward the significant and outstanding contribution made by social care workers and nurses in England and their exceptional contribution to nursing and social care. They celebrate nurses and care workers who go above and beyond their everyday roles to provide excellent care to their patients and leadership and inspiration to their colleagues. 

The programme aims to remodel the Residential Home workforce to include the qualified Nursing Associate role, utilising an "arm's-length" supervision model and helping to integrate health and care.

At the same time, it aims to create a career pathway into nursing for care staff, helping talented East London care workers to enhance both the support they provide to service users and their own careers. This is the case for Ajeesh who, until joining the programme, had felt his career limited at Ebury Court, without an opportunity to learn from an on-site nurse and become proficient in clinical practice.

Professor Jane Perry, dean of the School of Health, Sport and Bioscience, said, "We are all immensely proud of Ajeesh for this exceptionally rare accolade. Ajeesh is dedicated to supporting his care home residents while also developing his skills and has continued to work on his associate role through a very difficult period during the pandemic the last two years."

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