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P-250 Creating nursing career pathways in palliative care
  1. Sonia Henry
  1. Royal Trinity Hospice, London, UK


Background Services are under pressure, budgets are tighter and like many healthcare providers, the hospice is struggling to fill Band 5 Registered Nurse vacancies. Various exciting new opportunities exist for Palliative Care Assistants (PCAs) and Healthcare Assistants (HCAs) looking to progress and develop their career.

Aim Recruitment of new Band 5 Nurses and the retention and supported career development of talented and ambitious HCAs.


  1. Partnered with local universities to support our non-registered nursing team members into nursing degrees and returning to practice including:

    1. Introducing a Nursing Associate role to bridge the gap between HCA and RNs, to deliver hands on, person-centred care as part of the palliative care Inter Disciplinary Team. This 2-year programme leads to a foundation degree. Graduates are Band 4 and NMC regulated once qualified. The programme combines on the job learning and academic studies. Qualified Nursing Associates may study towards becoming an RN through a shortened nursing degree or by completing a shortened degree-level Nursing Apprenticeship.

    2. Introducing a Nursing Degree Apprenticeship to enable participants to train ‘on the job’ to become a graduate RN through an apprentice route, meaning they are paid whilst training. This 4-year programme leads to a degree and nursing registration. Graduates are Band 5 once qualified and exposed to learning on the job alongside academic studies.

    3. Supporting former RNs back into practice with progression to Band 5 on successful completion of the Return to Practice (RTP) course and an interview.

  2. Expanded our PCA role in the community to support the community Inter Disciplinary Team of Registered Professionals.

What are the results so far?The pace of change to develop our healthcare assistant workforce led us to providing the following opportunities in Spring 2023:

  • Four hospice HCAs and PCAs offered Nursing Associate Apprenticeships.

  • Two hospice HCAs offered Nursing Degree Apprenticeships.

  • One RTP Nurse recruited.

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