05 December 2018

Support workers celebrate success of new route into nursing

Six support workers from Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust's Clinical Careers Progression Programme have graduated achieving their nursing registration.

The University of the West of England's Nursing and Midwifery Department held its annual graduation ceremony on Wednesday 28 November at Bristol Cathedral. Amongst the sea of gowns and mortar boards were six newly registered nurses who, in their previous working lives, had worked for the Trust in unregistered support roles across Bristol and North Somerset. Following a competitive selection process, each gained a funded place on the Clinical Carers Progression Programme's two year mental health nursing course.

Polly Fairbrass (Bath and North East Somerset Recovery Team), Natalie Davenport (North Somerset Intensive Recovery Team), Jemma Silverton (Community Perinatal Team), Carey Wilson (Community Child Adolescent Mental Health Services CAMHS), Michaela Holovkova (Acer Unit, Fromeside, Blackberry Hill Hospital) and Abby Chapman (Teign Ward, Fromeside, Blackberry Hill Hospital) are shining examples that there is more than one route into nursing. All of the graduates have now successfully taken up substantive positions with AWP and will begin their journey as registered nurses.

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Natalie Davenport, Recovery Practitioner at North Somerset Recovery, said:  "A combination of inspirational teaching, passionate mentors and supportive managers has enabled us to broaden our caring vision, develop our clinical skills, and to thrive in some of the exceptional services that AWP has to offer. They invested and believed in us, and we are now looking forward to making new journeys, and to building on the excellent, evidenced-based approaches to compassionate care that lie at the heart of everything we do in AWP."

Rachel Knowles, Practice Education Facilitator, and Ben Padfield, Service Improvement Facilitator, for AWP's Nursing and Quality Directorate joined their mentees to mark their graduation and celebrate the success of the programme.

Ben said: "This is such an exciting time for those who want to train as nurses, because we're closer than ever to giving unregistered practitioners the chance to progress their careers without destroying their bank balance or requiring them to have pre-existing degrees. This wonderful occasion is just the start of our journey to provide first class clinical development programmes for all, at whatever stage of their working lives. 

"The Trust has recently sponsored six unregistered practitioners to undertake Learning Disability Nurse training, and we're not stopping there!"

The Clinical Careers Progression Programme, a multidisciplinary and departmental initiative at AWP, continues to develop and roll out a progression framework within the Trust. The aim of the programme is to provide the best available care to service users through training, developing and supporting staff through apprenticeships for new-to-care inpatient and community support workers, higher apprenticeships for those with experience and those looking for a route into professional training as well as high level clinical qualifications for registrants in specialist roles. 

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If you're interested in a rewarding career in mental health, a career where your passion makes a real difference to the lives of those in your community, then AWP has a wide range of roles and development pathways it is recruiting into.

To find out more, please visit:


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