Newly qualified nurses

We offer a preceptorship programme for all newly qualified professionals to help them develop their skills and confidence in specialist cardiothoracic care and treatment. 

All newly qualified professionals will be enrolled onto a six-day, in-house training programme, with a blended approach of face-to-face and virtual learning. The programme focuses on caring for cardiology, respiratory and surgical patients, as well as covering topics such as leadership. 

You will also be matched with a ‘preceptor’ (a nurse who has been registered for more than a year) for a six-month period, to provide ongoing advice and support with regular 1-2-1 meetings and check-ins throughout the year.

We also offer regular study sessions to help nurses gain competencies in cardiothoracic nursing – topics include administering oral medication, IV medication, chest drains, removing pacing wires, CPAP monitoring, tracheostomy care and ventilation. 

Returning to practice

We support nurses who have taken a career break - for whatever reason - to regain their NMC Pin and practice as a registered nurse.

Nurses who are returning to practice are eligible to join us as a band 3 healthcare support worker while taking part in a three-to-four month course to regain their nursing skills.

The Return to Practice Course offers the chance to revisit clinical skills with the support of a nursing supervisor.

At the end of the programme, participants undergo a robust assessment to ensure they are competent and able to perform as a registered nurse. Once participants have passed this assessment they can be appointed as a Band 5 registered nurse. 

Healthcare support workers

If you join Royal Papworth as a healthcare support worker, you will be enrolled onto the Care Certificate course (unless you have already taken the course elsewhere) which will provide you with the fundamentals behind caring for our patients.

Once you have gained the Care Certificate, you may wish to apply for further training.

We offer an in-house development programme which consists of a mixture of face-to-face study days and virtual learning.

Other training paths exist in conjunction with our local universities which offer apprenticeship routes into Nursing Associate and Registered Nursing roles (see below).


Registered nurse apprenticeship

Earn as you learn by combining hospital working and university learning, meaning no student debt at the end of your training. 

Suitable for people with either assistant practitioner or nursing associate qualifications.

Nursing associates apprenticeship 

Nursing associate (NA) is a band 4 role which bridges the gap between healthcare support workers and registered nurses.

NAs plan and deliver hands-on, person-centred care as part of a multi-disciplinary team, using a variety of clinical skills and evidence-based decision making. NAs can give medications and will be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

You will earn as you learn during your training, with trainees usually paid at a band 3 rate. We will cover your fees and you will progress to band 4 once qualified. 

To become a Nursing Associate you need to join as a healthcare support worker then apply for the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship.

Case study - Ramona Nyiri 

I have been working as a healthcare support worker on critical care for five years and really enjoyed my job, but I knew I was ready for more so I decided that I would like to further develop my career. After completing my nursing associate apprenticeship at the start of 2023, I am currently working as a registered nursing associate, providing and monitoring care that requires life-saving actions and the close observation of patients. Recently, I have applied for the registered nurse apprenticeship.

During all these years working in critical care I have gained several transferable skills, always felt supported, and my individual needs were considered through personalised education and training. I cannot praise the team enough for all the help and support I received on my learning path, helping me to grow in confidence.

I find it such a rewarding job with an incredible amount of responsibility, but where you can see the outcome of enhancing the quality of life for these patients in a very short period of time.

Two nurses in blue scrubs crouching either side of a patient in a chair.

Ramona (right) completed her nursing associate apprenticeship in our critical care unit


For more information, please visit our apprenticeships page or contact our apprenticeships team.