Healthcare Assistant to Nursing Associate

We’re congratulating Maria Caveney, a long standing member of our heathcare team, who has recently been awarded a Foundation Degree in Nursing and achieved a promotion to Nursing Associate.

The course has enabled Maria to undertake complex clinical tasks, help more with medication and better support our nursing team. She’s also able to help other Healthcare Assistants (HCAs) develop their roles.

How it all started

Maria, from Weston, has worked for Katharine House Hospice for over 18 years. She initially joined us as a student on placement from her nursing course at Stafford College but had experienced the hospice before while helping her mum, reception volunteer Maureen.

“I started as a HCA on the inpatient unit and prior to that I was a nursing student doing a BTEC in Nursing at Stafford College. I came here as a student on placement and then got a job here,” explains Maria.

“My mum volunteered for about 30 years, I think that was probably why I wanted to work here. I just knew when I came as a student that this was the right place,” she continues.

As soon as Maria started her placement, she was immediately impressed by the level of patient care she saw at the hospice. And as HCA she gradually improved her skills by taking up as many development opportunities as she could, working her way up and also qualifying as a manual handling trainer.

Developing further

“I’d reached the top level as an HCA but I wanted to go further and improve my clinical skills. The opportunity arose to do the Nursing Associate course and as I wanted to learn a lot more, I decided to do it.”

Maria started a Nursing Associate Level 5 Foundation Degree in 2021. The two-year course took the form of an apprenticeship, with two days a week at Staffordshire University School of Nursing and the remainder on placement or in the workplace. Her placements took place at the Oncology and Haematology wards at University Hospital of North Midlands and in the community.

“It was really good to meet people from different fields, experience new work placements and see the journeys the patients go through before they come to us,” Maria explains.

“Not being in education for a long time is very challenging. But something just clicked. It’s tough to fit a course in with a job and home life but Katharine House Hospice is just the right environment because the support is so good.”

 “It’s been amazing ever since I’ve been here… but doing the course has opened things up and reminded me why I love working here.”