Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) has been granted one of only 16 contracts across the NHS to run a new specialist academic award in Critical Care Nursing, a programme which is accredited by Sheffield Hallam University and administratively hosted by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals (STH).
The Critical Care Nursing Faculty at DBTH, which is led by Registered Nurses, Dr Lee Cutler, Critical Care Nurse Consultant and Lead Nurse Critical Care Services, and Judith Cutler, Clinical Educator, has delivered a Critical Care Academic programme since 2005 across South Yorkshire. This established programme has not only met the criteria required to obtain one of the 16 contracts given out, but it was also copied by other areas around the country as best practice for organisations to receive similar accreditation.
The introduction of this award means that there will be a sustainable and standardised nationally recognised qualification in Critical Care Nursing for the first time in the history of healthcare in the United Kingdom. It will enable the NHS to give more specialist training to more nurses and allied health professionals, which will significantly strengthen the workforce in intensive care units.
Lee takes up the story: “With all the demands placed upon critical care in the midst of the pandemic, Health Education England made the decision to invest extra funding in this area. Instead of having local courses such as those within South Yorkshire or West Yorkshire, the intention was to create a standardised and national framework to follow, making it a transferable qualification for clinicians who are moving between trusts and providers.
“The introduction of the National Critical Care Nursing Award means that critical care nurses have a very clear pathway to progress. They can go from being a novice nurse through to being an expert nurse in the department within just a few years.
“Once complete, individuals will come out with a qualification that shows that they are competent and possess high academic abilities. If someone comes to us from another critical care unit, we know what level they are at because they have done this national award and vice versa.”
The course itself is funded by Health Education England, who were granted £10 million to roll-out this specialist training. The standardised qualification will take 12 months to complete and aims to support over 10,000 nursing staff nationwide to further their careers in critical care.
Nurses at DBTH will be offered the chance to sign-up to this course, which will provide them with a nationally recognised pathway for a career in adult intensive care units, be it as a clinical educator, leading nursing research, or as a shift leader.
Dr Sam Debbage, Deputy Director of Education & Research at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for our Trust, and is testament to the great work undertaken by both Lee and Judith Cutler. We are always looking for new and innovative ways to streamline how we train colleagues, ensuring any gained qualifications are transferable between organisations, guaranteeing good standardisation of practice, as well as seamless progression between roles – treating the NHS as a whole, rather than a number of individual organisations.”
Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals hosts three main sites, Bassetlaw Hospital, Doncaster Royal Infirmary and Montagu Hospital. The Trust became a teaching hospital in 2018 and trains around 25% of all medical students in the region, as well 30% of all other healthcare students.