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Ronald becomes a registered nurse

A Royal Derby Hospital nurse has become the first NHS staff member in the UK to progress from a nursing associate to a registered nurse.

Ronald Duco has led the way for trainee nursing associates everywhere by taking an “unconventional route” to the position – having previously been a registered nurse in his native Philippines.

After joining UHDB as a healthcare assistant (HCA) in 2014, Ronald was accepted onto the nursing associate foundation programme at the University of Derby and graduated earlier this year with a distinction, alongside a prestigious Dean’s Award.

And Ronald has now taken the next step to become a registered nurse, with his previous experience as a nurse, coupled with his foundation degree and the successful completion of the OSCE and computer-based skills test, ensuring he’s now been able to register as a nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).   

He said: “I’ve always wanted to be a nurse since I was very young. When I lived in the Philippines, my grandparents became unwell and we lived in the countryside, which was far away from the hospital. I really wanted to be able to care for them myself – this was the start of my journey.

“My favourite thing about nursing is caring for, and getting to know my patients. I just want to provide them with the best possible care that I can.”

Ronald moved to the UK in 2008 but started his NHS journey six years later when he joined UHDB as a HCA, before, in 2017, joining the legacy cohort of Trainee Nursing Associates – a joint-initiative between the Trust and the University of Derby – as part of a national pilot from Health Education England.   

He added: “The role was very new and I had doubts but the team have been fantastic. I will be forever grateful to the Professional & Practice Development Team at UHDB, as they have given me the opportunity to develop my skills and helped me to fulfil my dreams.”

Ronald successfully completed his course in 2019 and was also recognised by The University of Derby and won the Dean’s Award.

When asked how he felt to be the first Nursing Associate in the country to progress on to a registered nurse role, Ronald replied: “It feels surreal; it is a really great achievement. My advice for anyone wanting to get into nursing would be to follow your heart and desires. You may doubt yourselves, but you are capable of achieving your dreams. Surround yourself with support!”

Simon Gibson, Senior Clinical Educator, said: “Ronald is an exceptional nurse, who has shown determination and compassion throughout his time at UHDB. It’s really important that we work with our staff to create individualised development programmes.

“Ronald was a qualified nurse in the Philippines and we have been able to work with him to create a pathway to nursing. While it’s been an unconventional route, we’re really pleased that Ronald has gained the right qualifications and experience to meet the NMC registration criteria.”