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My apprenticeship

Chelsea's storyChelsea Spain

I joined Medway Community Healthcare in September 2015 as a speech and language therapy (SLT) and nutrition and dietetics (N&D) clinical apprentice. I’m studying for a NVQ level 2 course during the year as well.

I decided to do an apprenticeship, as I have always felt drawn to a career in healthcare, but never had the confidence to go for it. I have always learnt a lot better when I have been doing a more practical role. I have dyslexia, so sometimes I struggle with the written aspects of studying. I was nervous before the interview, but the whole MCH apprenticeship interview process was very relaxed.

My main duties as a clinical apprentice with SLT/N&D are helping the acute teams on the wards at Medway hospital, collecting initial information of patients, reviewing patients and admin duties.

I enjoy being on the wards the most and getting to interact and help with patients. I like being part of the team and helping with the teams’ caseloads.

I have really been enjoying my role as an apprentice; it’s awesome! The team are all so friendly and a pleasure to be around. Everyone’s keen to help and support me. I am learning so much and building my confidence. I really feel blessed to have this opportunity as I am gaining valuable skills in my work life and in my personal growth. All the team are very supportive and create an encouraging and uplifting environment to work in.

I would encourage everyone to do an apprenticeship; it is a great way to experience and build skills in the career you may be interested in.

The apprenticeship has impacted my future plan as now I know I want to continue a career in healthcare. I am very grateful to MCH and the SLT/N&D team for giving me such an amazing opportunity. It can’t always be easy having an apprentice, so I would just like to say thanks for investing time and energy into supporting me along this journey. 

Kitty Peploe (speech and language therapy acute team lead)

I first heard about clinical apprenticeships from my colleagues in the dietitians department. They had always encouraged our service to take one on. I was initially worried about what an apprentice would be able to do to support our team on the acute wards at Medway Maritime Hospital. As a service, speech and language therapy had never employed apprentices. My fear was that our new apprentice would create more work rather than be any help!

Before our new apprentice started, I spent time creating competencies for her to be working on through her year with us. I also made medical note templates for her to follow when completing her tasks on the wards. I briefed the acute team, and we waited nervously for her arrival!

Chelsea has now been with us for two months. She settled into the team straight away, with her bubbly and friendly manner. She is keen to learn and shows buckets of enthusiasm in the work she does. She is helping us manage our caseload, by extracting information from case notes, nurses and patients. In time, she will be able to offer communication and swallow therapy under guidance from an SLT.

I would encourage other teams to think about taking on a clinical apprentice. Not only are you helping a young person develop confidence and transferable skills, but you benefit from an extra person in your team to lighten the load and lift the teams spirits!

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