Workplace Change Makers Award Winner
Powys Teaching Health Board
Nominated by: The Open University in Wales
Sponsored by: The Open University in Wales
Powys Teaching Health Board had previously struggled to recruit and retain nursing staff because of the lack of opportunities in the area, resulting in many having to leave the county to gain their nursing degree.
Katelyn Falvey, Powys Teaching Health Board’s Head of Organisational Design and Workforce Transformation, acknowledged this and worked with The Open University in Wales and the commissioners on a joint approach to secure an option for candidates to take up employment and their nursing degree locally.
Katelyn said: “Because of our large rural setting, and the fact we don’t have a university within our footprint, we were struggling to offer degree-level academic opportunities for people within Powys. This meant that our ability to attract and retain newly qualified nurses was challenging. Often people from within the local community would opt to leave the county in search of further education across Wales, or even across the border to England, and they wouldn’t come back for many years, if ever.”
To address this, Powys Teaching Health Board and The Open University in Wales secured additional health board funding and the agreement to use Welsh Government funding differently to recruit people from within Powys into newly created, paid nurse training roles.
The initiative has generated a positive response from the local community with a large number of applications. Katelyn continued: “It was so successful because there hadn’t been an option available like it before.
Within this newly developed academy, a clinical skills and simulation suite was developed which is used to enhance the learning and development of the clinical workforce, including aspiring nurses.
“Lots of our student nurses have commitments, and some people also just don’t want to live in a city and are more content in a rural setting. It was therefore important to us to offer a local solution, creating the new Aspiring Nurse training roles along with robust pastoral support and an environment that supported and enhanced the students’ learning experience.
The Powys Practice Education Facilitator team were integral to the success of the project and were mobilised to help support the students and their practice supervisors and assessors.
“These staff members are invaluable in ensuring the students have a really positive experience during their years as student nurses in Powys. They work hard to ensure the students get access to excellent practical learning placements in Powys as well as providing timely pastoral support to our local and visiting students,” said Katelyn.