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Patients and staff to benefit from new Professional Nurse Advocate role

Patients and staff are set to benefit from further support, thanks to a new nursing role introduced at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM). Professional Nurse Advocates (PNAs) will perform an innovative and wide-ranging role which will equip nurses to lead, support, advocate and deliver improvements to patient care and support the development and wellbeing of other nurses. The new position was introduced by NHS England and is a world-first Masters-level accreditation.

1500 PNAs have already been recruited country-wide and the role will apply across a range of specialties. There will be additional places for international nurses and the programme will be rolled out to around 5,000 nurses across the UK.

Ann-Marie Riley, Chief Nurse at UHNM, said: “The programme launched in March 2021, towards the end of the third wave of Covid-19. This was the start of a critical point of recovery for patients, for services and for our workforce.

“PNA training provides those on the programme with the skills to facilitate restorative supervision to their colleagues and teams, in nursing and beyond. The training equips them to listen and to understand challenges and demands of fellow colleagues and to lead, support and deliver quality improvement initiatives in response.”

Vicky Golden has recently started working as a PNA on Royal Stoke’s critical care unit and surgical special care unit.

Vicky said: “Being part of this evolving new role is very exciting. With the implementation of the Advocating for Education and Quality Improvement (A-EQUIP) model, we aim to enhance our staff’s health and wellbeing, using restorative clinical supervision and providing support and a safe space for staff to discuss and reflect. This will help to reduce anxiety and stress and encourage the development of skills to improve resilience.

“We will work to support the education and professional development of our staff, ultimately allowing them to continue to provide the best possible care to our patients. After the last two years, this role is ever more valuable to our workforce.”

Karen Griffiths, professional nurse advocate, said: “PNAs have a really special role because they’re working to support other nurses and hopefully help them to develop the resilience to carry on in their work.

“There is a need in every division at the hospital and we will work hard to ensure there is inclusive representation.”

For more about the national programme, contact the central Professional Nurse Advocates Team at