Children’s nursing associates make step up to registered nurses thanks to Coventry University

Head and shoulders shot of Hollie Sayers and Nadia Sarwar stood next to each other

Hollie Sayers (left) and Nadia Sarwar

Student news

Thursday 14 September 2023

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Two children’s nurses have become the first to top-up their qualifications at Coventry University to move from nursing associates to registered nurses.

Hollie Sayers and Nadia Sarwar have been working in the NHS for a number of years, before making the decision to take the next steps in their work journeys.

This saw them enrol on Coventry University’s top-up course - something that Hollie, 30, described as “a natural progression” in her career.

We hadn’t been at university for over four years, so we had to get back into the swing of things. To do the top-up you already have that general knowledge and it’s about transferring that to being a registered nurse.

If you get the opportunity to do this then you should.

Hollie Sayers

As part of the course, the pair – who both work at University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) NHS Foundation Trust - were sent on various placements and they have been able to transfer what they learned elsewhere into the working practices of their home wards.

We did a placement at a mental health inpatient area and we learned how to manage children with mental health issues and when they do have challenging behaviour and being able to calm them. We spoke with staff on that placement and took that back to our home ward with a sensory box of items that can be used to help calm a child.

So we have taken what we learned and been able to expand our own role.

Nadia Sarwar

Nadia, 42, is also using her new-found skills to provide training sessions for staff on the paediatric assessment unit at UHB to aid the support of children presenting with mental health crisis, as well as creating a presentation for a university conference to discuss her journey from nursing associate to registered nurse. 

I first met Hollie and Nadia in my previous role when they were part of the initial pilot of the Nursing Associate training sponsored by Health Education England. I then followed them through to their top-up at Coventry University in my current role as an Assistant Professor.

I am immensely proud of what Nadia and Hollie have achieved and the personal strength and resilience they have shown in becoming registered nurses. The top-up programme for nursing associates provides committed and compassionate nursing associates with the opportunity to further their qualifications whilst recognising their prior learning.

I wish Nadia and Hollie all the very best with their future careers.

Andrea Field, Assistant Professor at Coventry University’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health

Find out more about starting or continuing a career in nursing or midwifery at Coventry University.