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.
Employing nursing associates
Employers should consider workforce planning to incorporate the nursing associate role, agree a job specification and advertise the post.
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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 and student nursing associate national community of practice
Wednesday 29 November, 13:00-14:30, via Zoom Book now
Wednesday 28 February, 13:00-14:30, via Zoom
We've established a community of practice specifically for nursing associates and student nursing associates working in adult social care. If you’re currently working, on placement, or intending to work in adult social care, we’d love you to join us.
It’s a fantastic opportunity for peer support and also to share good practice.
Meeting topics will be finalised and communicated four weeks prior to each session.
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 SocialCareNursing@skillsforcare.org.uk for more information.
Get in touch
Learn more about the nursing associate role by emailing any queries to firstname.lastname@example.org
Nursing associate role in practice
Hear from more nursing associates and get unique insights about the nursing associate role in social care