Case study

Nursing Associate Apprenticeship takes Emma to the other side of the world

Emma Macukiewicz has worked in healthcare all her adult life but always struggled with her confidence. Since completing the Nursing Associate Higher Apprenticeship she's become much more self-assured and her sought-after skills have enabled her to move to Australia. This is her story.

What is a nursing associate?

This is a new role within the nursing team. Nursing associates work with healthcare support workers and registered nurses to deliver care for patients and the public. It is also a stepping stone to becoming a registered nurse.

Why Emma took the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship

"At age 18 I started working at The Royal Derby Hospital as a Healthcare Assistant. I soon became even fonder of healthcare and developing my skills, as I am a very hands-on person. I completed all the training I possibly could for my job role, completed college courses whilst at work and I hit a point where I wanted to progress further. This was when I first heard about the Nursing Associate role and the first cohort of students had just started their training.

"I remember looking into it and thinking: on-the-job learning whilst studying at university and still being able to stay in the same job? That’s amazing. I knew it would be perfect for me and my career development so I applied, and I can honestly say it is one of the BEST things that I have ever done."

My experience of the Higher Apprenticeship 

"At the beginning of the apprenticeship, I was so nervous. I was quite a shy person when it came to interacting with others (apart from patients) so it was a big step for me personally to attend university. But as soon as I started, I felt comfortable and welcome, with it being a relatively small foundation degree compared to other degrees.

"I found the staff were very supportive and wanted everyone to thrive. I really feel like the staff took a great person-centred approach with students, and it was easy to manage a good work-life balance around work, placements, and university. 

"The Nursing Associate course was set out well. I feel like all the subjects were relevant for nursing practice and the lecturers made them interesting and a fun thing to be part of. I also liked the different placements and settings you can experience rather than working in one place."

Growing in confidence 

"My confidence went from 0 to 100 within the two years. I remember during each review I would always say my confidence was the issue, however by the end of the two years I had so much exposure to practice and different settings, support from mentors, communication development and supernumerary time. I felt I was ready and comfortable to start working as a Registered Nursing Associate and would be able to transition smoothly with the knowledge and skills I had developed."

Boosting my career prospects

"The Nursing Associate programme has helped my prospects leap to another level. I am now living in Australia and working as an Enrolled Nurse which is like a Nursing Associate. My skills have helped me integrate well into a different healthcare setting in another country. The Nursing Associate / Enrolled Nurse is also on the skills list for Australia, so this degree can take you further than you can imagine!"

My advice for potential apprentices

"If you’re thinking about joining the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship, do. It’ll be the best thing you do for yourself in so many ways. My advice for future students is to get involved more in the university — join groups, become a representative and participate in tutorials! And by the way, presenting in front of a class isn’t that bad!"


Student nurse applies dressing on arm of patient

Find out more about this apprenticeship

Read more about the Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship BSc, including what it entails and how to get on to this programme.

Find out more about the Registered Nurse Degree ApprenticeshipFind out more about the Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship