A TRAINEE nurse at Airedale Hospital has won a coveted award for his work during the pandemic.

Jamie Barnes has received the Outstanding Educational Achievement accolade from Health Education England.

The presentation ceremony took place at Bolton University, where Jamie had also been nominated for an Apprentice of the Year award.

He studied online in tandem with working on Ward 13 at the Steeton hospital.

Jamie's background had been in mental health, but he was keen to work in an acute trust.

On joining the nurse associate programme, he was allocated to an acute respiratory ward as a trainee ­– just as the pandemic was starting.

Jamie said he was "still in shock" following his awards success.

"I had only worked within mental health and never in the NHS so initially I wasn't even sure I would be accepted onto the trainee programme," he added.

"But I have been given so much support and encouragement throughout my time at the hospital which has really helped me to succeed and develop both my knowledge and confidence.

"I wouldn't have been able to do any of this without the support and warm welcome that I have been given from the team at Airedale Hospital and the whole of Ward 13 and also the educational backing from Bolton University and Bradford campus programme leader Aleeza Khan."

Tribute is paid by Jane McSharry, senior nurse for practice development at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust.

She said: "Jamie had no acute clinical experience yet he not only stepped up, he was a team player and was hardworking and dedicated.

"At the same time as working on the ward during an unprecedented period, when he was witnessing very difficult circumstances for our patients and their families, he was developing his knowledge and clinical skills with his online learning at university and doing really well academically.

"Jamie is a true example of compassion, courage, commitment, excellent communication and competence."

Airedale became a pilot site for the nursing associates programme in 2017 and the first graduates qualified two years later.

Three of the graduates are now training to be registered nurses.

Airedale NHS Foundation Trust has two intakes of trainee nursing associates each year – one in December with Bradford University and the other in April with Bolton University, with the course being delivered locally at Bradford College.

Further information about the programme can be obtained by emailing jane.mcsharry@nhs.net.