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Celebrating success - Nicole Wilson, HCA apprentice to Registered Nurse


Nicole Wilson joined County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust in 2016 as a Healthcare Assistant Apprentice with a fixed term contract working on the Acute Medical Unit (AMU) at University Hospital of North Durham.

Not long into Nicole's apprenticeship, she gained a substantive post as a Healthcare Assistant on AMU and in 2017 she completed her Healthcare Support Worker apprenticeship with Derwentside College.

Nicole started her Nursing Associate apprenticeship in 2018, remaining in AMU and completed her 2 year apprenticeship with Teesside University in 2020.

She remained as a Nursing Associate for 1 year on AMU to consolidate and embed her learning in this new role before applying for the Open University Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship in 2021.

Nicole qualified as a Registered Nurse in October 2022, following the CDDFT apprenticeship pathway into nursing.

Nicole said: "I have enjoyed every minute of undertaking the apprenticeship routes as I have felt more involved and hands-on when it comes to healthcare. I have gained valuable experiences throughout the 6 years of my career working as part of #TeamCDDFT alongside amazing teams of nurses and healthcare assistants.

"Over the past 3 years it's been extremely difficult within the NHS itself due to the global pandemic but I feel it has helped shape me into the Registered Nurse I am today, by allowing me to gain experiences that not many people can say they have experienced in a lifetime!

"I am extremely proud to say I work for the NHS and do the job I do, especially when I have such amazing work colleagues from all areas that help, support and carry one another."

We are incredibly proud of Nicole's achievements here at #TeamCDDFT and those who have also followed this pathway and are currently accessing apprenticeships to develop professionally.

If you would like further information about apprenticeship opportunities please email

'Every aspect of my emergency care was dealt with quickly, efficiently and professionally with full explanations and compassion from all staff involved'.

Patient, Emergency Department, Darlington Memorial Hospital