From cadet nurse to registered nurse, Adam Smith shares his career journey

case study image

Adam has recently completed his nursing apprenticeship top up degree to become a registered nurse - you can read more about Adam’s apprenticeship journey below

What was your apprenticeship and when did you start?

I joined the trust as a cadet nurse 19 years ago; I rotated around the hospital in a variety of roles and areas to gain an insight into the daily running of the hospital whilst completing an NVQ qualification. The roles and areas included portering, phlebotomy, sterile services, pathology and working on our wards.

In 2008, I became a healthcare assistant on John Snow and Nicholas Ward, which was an infection control ward at the time. I later went on to join our cardiac ward (Flemming Ward and is now Kingsmoor Ward) where the opportunity came around to complete an apprenticeship to complete a foundation degree in health and social care; following this I completed the apprenticeship degree top up course to become a registered nurse.

Tell us more about what’s involved in an apprenticeship?

The foundation degree course at Anglia Ruskin University was a two year course; during this time I was still based on Fleming Ward and attended University one day a week, we were also allocated a student day to help with completing learning booklets, essays and exams. There was a high volume of applicants and only 20 places available, I was very grateful to have been given a place with support from my manager.

My top up course to become a fully qualified nurse was a 22 month course and consisted of two placements days per week, full time placements and week blocks at University, as well as placements at the hospital in various different areas including Saunders Ward, the Derwent Centre, the neurological unit at the rivers hospital and community nursing; my final placement was on Kingsmoor Ward, where I am based now.

Why did you decide to start and apprenticeship?

I’ve always wanted to work in healthcare ever since I was a young boy – when I saw the advert in the local newspaper for the cadet scheme I jumped at the chance, this was a great opportunity to begin my career within the NHS, develop my skills and knowledge, gain a qualification and earn at the same time.

What did you enjoy most about the apprenticeship and why?

Undertaking an apprenticeship allowed me to gain valuable experience and knowledge into the daily running of the hospital and different departments. The rotation around the different wards helped me to realise my speciality and passion for cardiac care.

How do you think an apprenticeship has improved or opened up your career options?

My apprenticeship has opened up lots of potential opportunities for me and allowed me to progress my nursing career.

What advice would you give to other people considering starting an apprenticeship?

The journey is tough but worth the end goal – expect lots of juggling around in your home and work life.

Apprenticeships give you a wealth of hands on experience and invaluable knowledge to carry out your role. For managers, it’s a chance to ultimately gain an experienced and skilled member of staff.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

I imagine myself having gained my CCU course and to have started my Master’s degree.

Interview Credit to PAH