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“Earning while learning makes life a lot easier when you have a small family to take care of.”

Maria Hole, an employee at Brunelcare’s Glastonbury’s Care Home, has just completed her Training Nurse Associate Apprenticeship (TNA) and has qualified as a Nursing Associate after starting the course over two years ago. 

Maria has worked for the charity for more than 14 years and has had several roles in her time at Brunelcare. Before starting her TNA Apprenticeship, she was an Administrator at Glastonbury Care Home. 

Maria sought the help of friends, family, colleagues and even school mums to successfully complete her apprenticeship, and says she couldn’t be more thrilled. Maria is now keen to start her Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship (RNDA) to achieve a full degree and become a Registered General Nurse in 2024. 

Maria has also made Brunelcare history by being the first Brunelcare employee to complete the TNA qualification.

Maria said: “I spoke to my manager about completing my nurse associate training and that’s when he told me about the TNA programme. I spoke to my family before starting the course as I knew I would need a lot of support with child care.

“Before starting the course I was extremely nervous as I hadn’t been in education for over 16 years. I would be attending University as a mature student, however, the cohort had such a diverse selection of people I didn’t feel out of place. The cohort WhatsApp chat was great for asking questions, reassurance and general support. 

“The course was very compact, you learn and do a lot within these two years, and being a mum who has to go on placements, it was sometimes a logistical nightmare. I found that in my cohort there were only a couple of us who worked in a care home setting, the rest mainly worked in a hospital setting. Going on placements was daunting but also exciting. The placements were fantastic, allowing me to expand my knowledge of a different care setting and learn new skills. The placements helped me understand the difference of the TNA role within each environment, and it gave me an opportunity to explain to others my own role as a TNA in a care home. 

“Next was the academic side of things. I found writing difficult to start with, but the university offered amazing guidance and support. On one assignment, my children were able to help, and we created a poster together that achieved an 8/10. We all had a celebratory tea for everyone’s hard work. 

I feel it’s important to remember that if you fail an assignment, remind yourself that you are only human. If you fail, allow yourself a day of frustration and sadness then the next day move on.

“During the two years, I had moments where I felt confident and others where I doubted myself. I am very fortunate that I could go to my Manager and Deputy Manager on my more wobbly days. My colleagues alike were always very supportive.

“I hope to return to the University next September to complete the Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship (RNDA) to achieve a full degree and become a Registered General Nurse.

Completing the course has been a team effort. I want to thank everyone at Glastonbury Care Home, alongside all of my University friends, family and even school mums! They say it takes a village to raise children, I can confirm it always takes a village, friends and family for me to achieve what I have.”

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