For National Careers Week 2021 (1st - 6th March 2021) we spoke to STEPS’ lead Rehabilitation Assistant, Zoe Johnson, about her role and career aspirations as she embarks on the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship at The University of Sheffield.

About you

I began my journey with STEPS Rehabilitation in August 2018 after leaving my job as a care assistant. I initially joined as a rehabilitation assistant and over the last two years, I have worked my way up to senior, then lead rehabilitation assistant.

When Covid-19 hit in March 2020, many staff, including myself were up-skilled in certain areas (peg, tracheostomy, and cough assist), to assist the nursing team during this extremely difficult time. Our prerogative was to ensure that all our clients, not just the most vulnerable, were protected from the virus. After working so closely with, and supporting our amazing nursing team to manage the threat of the virus, it made me reflect on my current role and prompted me to take the ambitious next step in my career to become a nurse.

I am so lucky because STEPS have been hugely supportive of me making this career move.

Nurse Training Associate

The course I am currently studying is a two year Nursing Associate Apprenticeship Foundation Degree at the University of Sheffield. The course involves studying nursing at the university alongside my work at STEPS Rehabilitation on a full-time contract.

It is a generic course - not field specific, but covers all four fields including Adult, Mental Health, Learning Disabilities and Child.

The course is split into work-based learning and alternative learning. I have university study days, as well as alternative placements. After this two-year course I am aiming to progress my qualifications further and do a degree in General Nursing. Ultimately I would love to become a qualified nurse at STEPS.

Future Hopes

STEPS really is a unique place and gives me invaluable experience for a nursing career. In addition to hands-on practice, I also get to work alongside some wonderful nurses who act as mentors, and help broaden my knowledge and experience.

Having peers from different types of nursing including general, mental health, learning disability and tissue viability, really helps to enhance my understanding of the profession.

I am excited by a future career in nursing and using my skills to care for others.