Going Further: Promoted Colleagues Reflect On Nursing Registrations

17 January 2024



Two long-standing Colten Care colleagues have recently received their much-prized nursing PINS having gained successive promotions on their career journeys.

To practise as a nurse in the UK, you have to be officially registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Every nurse on the NMC’s register is given their own personal registration code referred to as a PIN. This is a unique, searchable identifier that confirms they have been trained and are considered to have the ‘skills, knowledge, health and character’ to merit having a licence to practise.

Both Vicki Acott and Ligia Dragoi started with us as Healthcare Assistants more than a dozen years ago. Supported by our Learning & Development team, they both took on extra responsibilities and became Senior Care Leads for several years. Then, in 2019, they were among the first cohort of trainees on our trailblazing Nursing Associate course, designed to bridge a skills gap between carers and registered nurses.

After two years of study with Southampton Solent University, and while juggling their work commitments with us, the cohort graduated as Nursing Associates in 2021. Vicki and Ligia both worked in the Nursing Associate role for a year, Vicki at Bourne View in Poole and Ligia at Avon Cliff in Bournemouth. They then did an 18-month officially recognised top-up course to complete a BSc in Adult Nursing to become Registered General Nurses. It included intensive study on a six-month bridging module coupled with a year’s practical nursing experience on placements in different wards at Poole Hospital.

After they each graduated with first class honours, Ligia returned to Avon Cliff and Vicki moved to Brook View, both finally receiving their NMC PINS in September 2023. To complement their PINS and help welcome them into the role of fully qualified nurses, they underwent a short preceptorship programme at their respective homes.

Now, equipped with all their training and study, they can focus on complex clinical duties, leading less experienced colleagues and planning and delivering nursing care at a senior level as skilled, registered professionals. Their input, and that of fellow RGNs across Colten Care, is vital for our many residents living with severe frailty and multiple health issues.

Vicki, who gained a Distinction on the Nursing Associate course, says: “The difference between being a Nursing Associate and a Registered Nurse lies in the proficiencies involved. As a nurse, you are assessing needs and planning care. You are co-ordinating, leading, managing and evaluating care. It’s about expanding your professionalism.”

Both Ligia and Vicki express thanks to Colten Care colleagues for supporting them on their career journeys. Ligia says: “I was a part-time Healthcare Assistant when I joined Colten in 2009. I always wanted to progress to eventually become a nurse. I do feel it is a massive accomplishment to have gone through all the training and achieved that goal. I’m very grateful to Elaine Farrer and the Clinical Management Team for giving me the opportunity and supporting me through this. “I’m looking forward to developing my nursing career and making a difference in the residents’ lives.”

Vicki says: “We owe a big thank you to Elaine Farrer, Chief Operating Officer, and the team. I wouldn’t have my registered nurse PIN without the company. They have been 150% supportive all the way through. I’m very lucky and privileged to have done what I’ve done.”

Reflecting on their experiences, both Ligia and Vicki say they would recommend the Nursing Associate training to others. “I would encourage anyone to do it,” says Vicki. “A lot of people can’t afford to take time off work and go to uni, so it’s a great opportunity to take a step on the ladder. You don’t go into it lightly. You’ve got to be dedicated. I have a great family who have been very supportive. It’s all about hard work and having the right mental attitude. You have got to want it.” Ligia agrees, adding: “I am very privileged that Colten Care put me through this training and I am already endorsing others to take this path.”

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