The first ‘nursing associates’ have started at Blackpool Victoria Hospital after training at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
The team will bridge the gap between healthcare assistants and nurses, looking after patients so nurses can carry out more complex medical duties.
UCLan was one of the first universities in England to run the nursing associates foundation degree, with the first graduates being offered full-time positions at the Vic, in Whinney Heys Road.
They were taught in all areas of care, including both mental and physical health, and were previously working as healthcare assistants.
They will have the chance to do an 18-month course to become a nurse.
New nursing associate Terri Tattersall, 28, said: “I initially studied geography and it was whilst working in a nursing home during my first degree I realised what my true passion was.
“I’ve been a health care assistant for three years and jumped at the chance to develop my career.
“I’ve really enjoyed the course, especially learning on the job and building on my existing knowledge.”
The deputy director of nursing and quality at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Simone Anderton, said: “Congratulations go to everyone who has completed the training.
This was the first group of people to go through the course and they were pioneers in every way.
“Everyone worked really hard and is now set for the next stage of their career and we are all excited for them.’’.
Head of the UCLan School of Nursing, Prof Karen Wright said: “All of these students are trailblazers and I am thrilled to see them ready to go into many areas of the NHS and make a significant contribution.
“Being a nursing associate is about being at the heart of the patient journey and taking the time to offer the best care possible.”