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'So many opportunities for staff of all levels' - Celebrating North West Nursing Support Workers

24 Nov 2021

My name is Jade Dickinson and I’m a Clinical Educator at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals (WWL).

This Nursing Support Workers Day we're shining a light on just some of the thousands of health care professionals making a difference to patients and other staff members within this role. 

Clinical Educator Jade tells us how becoming an HCA opened doors for a career in nursing:

'I started working as a Health Care Assistant at WWL via NHS Professionals in 2011 before gaining a permanent position in 2012. I was seconded to start my nursing degree in 2013 as a mature student and graduated with first class honours in 2016, something of which I’m very proud. On graduating I took up a Band 5 Staff Nurse role, before moving to the Intensive Care Unit in 2018.

'In 2020, while on maternity leave, I successfully interviewed for my current role and started the post in April 2021 after a three-month redeployment back to ICU to help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

'My role is to support newly qualified and new to Trust nurses through their preceptorship period by giving pastoral support and delivering practical and theoretical education. I also support staff to become more competent in clinical care, deliver training to existing staff and support corporate and professional practice teams. I love my job and the best thing about it is seeing people grow and develop into confident, competent and passionate members of staff and become invaluable members of the teams in which they work.

'To work as a Clinical Educator you have to be enthusiastic about both your own and others’ learning and continuing development and to be an empathetic person who actively listens to and engages with others. You also need to be open, aware and accepting of all communities of people.

'Looking ahead, my next goal is to work towards my Masters’ degree in Clinical Education. It’s something I’ll be looking to do part-time so that I can continue to progress at WWL. It’s great to know that the Trust is willing to support me with this, and it’s another great example of the investment WWL is determined to make when it comes to career development for its staff.

'If I had to offer advice to someone wanting to do what I do, I would say that there are now so many routes into nursing, at varying pay bands, so there are development opportunities for staff at all levels. Try to gain an insight into the kind of roles you’d like to work in and contact the people working in that role to see what development advice they can suggest. Never be afraid to ask questions!'

Jade's colleague at WWL, Tula, describes here the importance of HCAs as the first face that patients see on the wards and how vital the role of unregistered nursing support staff is: Tula RCN video (subtitled).mp4 (


Page last updated - 25/04/2022