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Studying for new diploma has been really useful and enjoyable

My name is Sarah Mills and I’m a newborn hearing screener in Birmingham.

I started my role in April last year and decided to study for the new Level 3 Diploma for Health Screeners qualification.

The diploma is the new qualification for non-professionally regulated staff working in the abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), diabetic eye (DES) and newborn hearing screening programmes (NHSP).

It gives them the knowledge and skills they need to work in a healthcare setting. Staff can use the diploma to support career progression and personal development.

It has been a requirement for all new non-registered AAA and DES clinical staff since April 2016. It isn’t compulsory for new NHSP staff until April 2017 but I decided to do to increase my knowledge of screening and gain professional qualifications I’ll have for the rest of my life.

A group of newborn hearing screening staff studying for a diploma in health screening.
Team effort: from left, internal quality assurer Sarah Murphy, assessor Rachel Hair and learners Sarah Mills and Emma Jewkes

Variety of learning methods

I’m lucky that the NHS trust that employs me is also one of the providers of the new qualification.

I started studying for the diploma in September. Since then I’ve attended various workshops to gain the knowledge required for the mandatory units. I’ve also completed written workbooks, e-learning questions, clinical workplace assessments, learning logs, reflective diaries and discussions with colleagues to learn from their past experiences.

I still have lots more to do, including case studies and professional discussions, but I’m really pleased with my progress.   So far I’ve fully completed 3 units (‘Principals of safeguarding and protection in health and social care’, ‘The role of the health and social care worker’ and ‘Principals for implementing duty of care in health). I’ve also done more than 75% of another 4 units and have started most others.

What I’ve enjoyed most is increasing my knowledge and understanding about how the newborn hearing screening programme works. I’ve been able to apply a lot of this knowledge when on the wards.

I’ve also enjoyed going to the taught workshops and meeting a variety of people who work in different areas within the NHS and gaining from their experiences. I’ve learned about topics I didn’t know much about, such as duty of care and the control of hazardous substances.

The tutors in the workshops have been really helpful and always make sure I’ve gained from the sessions what’s required to complete the workbooks.

It has been very challenging at times to meet deadlines and get the tasks done around my busy family life and looking after my little girl.  But I’m thoroughly enjoying the role of a newborn hearing screener and it’s nice to know I’m doing a job that can make such a difference to a child’s life.

Funding for new screeners

Health Education England (HEE) has provided a limited amount of funding for new screeners to undertake the Diploma for Health Screeners.  PHE is administering these funds on behalf of HEE and funds will be available until autumn 2017.

To be eligible for funding, screeners must be new in post from 1 April 2016. Funding is available for a maximum of 2 screeners from each programme.

Please see the CPD website for further information and funding reclaim form.

Please make sure you complete the form correctly and in full and return it quickly to ensure prompt payment.

Local screening providers will need to make sure a funding stream is available to support the new qualification from autumn 2017 onwards.

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