Skills for Care

The nursing associate role provides care for people in health and social care settings. The role has been developed to bridge the skills gap between care assistants and registered nurses.

A nursing associate contributes to the core work of nursing which enables the registered nurse to work at the upper limits of their registration, focussing on more complex care needs and leadership. This role is only being used in England.

Typically the nursing associate role is educated to foundation degree level, and once qualified is registered by the Nursing and Midwifery Council with a PIN number and is therefore,  accountable for their practice.

Once registered, you may need to undertake continuous professional development (CPD) to extend the role to meet the needs of your working environment.

Duration 4 mins 32 secs


Employing nursing associates

Employers should consider workforce planning to incorporate the nursing associate role, agree a job specification and advertise the post.

PDF - 833Kb

Gain a clear understanding of the role and how it and add value to the quality of care. Hear how registered nursing associates are working in different social care settings and how the scope of practice can differ depending on the team and situation.

We are currently hosting a national forum to focus on the opportunities and challenges when deploying the nursing associate role in diverse social care settings. If you would like to know more, or get involved email.


Training nursing associates

Employers should consider employing an apprentice nursing associate or offering placements to full time students. This is a great opportunity to offer career progression for existing staff as well as a means of recruiting individuals motivated to train.

Programme delivery and funding


A work-based programme where the student is an employee (existing or new). The student is working during the training period as an apprentice nursing associate. There will be mandatory learning days, placements in different areas to meet the programme requirements.

Each programme will be designed to meet local needs and many areas have continued the partnerships that developed in the original test phase and are a good starting point. This programme is funded by the apprenticeship levy.

Full time ‘self-funded’ route

Universities are offering the pre-registration nursing associate programme as a full-time option, similar to how pre-registration nursing is delivered

The trainee nursing associate is a student of the university, not an employee. Fees for the programme will be charged to the student. As a social care employer, you can get involved with the new role by offering placement opportunities for pre-registration nursing associates.

Supporting in the work place

In order to effectively support the student nursing associate, the work place has to be receptive to learning and have registered staff who are willing and prepared to act as supervisors.

Once students have completed their training, they must apply for registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) before they can be employed and practise as a nursing associate. 

All nursing associates must meet standards of proficiency in order to be considered by the NMC as capable of safe and effective nursing associate practice. The standards show the starting point for a registered nursing associate, many will develop additional skills and competencies to suit their working environment as they grow into the role.

Nursing associates can continue to train and develop as part of their career pathway, and will be subject to re-validation in the same way as all other NMC registrants.


Nursing associate peer network

Are you a nursing associate or student nurse working in adult social care looking to connect with peers?

If so, we’ve set up a series of online networking meetings which you can join! Whether you’re currently working, on placement, or intending to work in adult social care, sign up to our meetings and take the opportunity to:

  • Collaborate, share best practices, discuss challenges, and engage in collective problem-solving with other nursing associates or student nurses nationwide.
  • Gain access to an open platform to talk about topics and challenges that are important to you.
  • Hear from guest speakers discussing themed topic areas for each meeting.

Register for the next meeting: 

Wednesday 28 February, 13:00-14:30, via Zoom Book now

I did the nursing associate course because I have a passion for caring for people along with gaining transferable skills to help myself grow within social care.

Nursing associate


It's our collective duty as human beings to look out for one another. Giving people your concern gives you inner power and profound fulfilment. Humans require friendship because we are social animals, but friendship is derived from having compassion and caring for people, not from having wealth or power.

Registered Nurse Associate


Are you a provider interested in or currently developing the nursing associate role?


To help support the development of the nursing associate role in social care, we hold a national forum where providers can get involved and share good practice. The group are currently working on the following approach:

  • Business case development – what do people need to know if they are considering supporting student nursing associates (SNA) direct entry, SNA apprenticeships/qualified nursing associates.
  • Grow our understanding of the data, where are TNA/NA in social care and the scope of their role.
  • Supporting the workforce to understand the role – sharing examples of where the role is working well in the sector.
  • Briefing for system stakeholders and a people friendly version for people who draw on care and support and their families and carers.
  • Increase placements for nursing associates hosted in in social care.

We're looking for provider representatives to sit on the forum and help shape this work. If you're interested, please email for more information. 



Get in touch

Learn more about the nursing associate role by emailing any queries to 


Nursing associate role in practice

Hear from more nursing associates and get unique insights about the nursing associate role in social care