Skills for Care

The new 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.

Community of Practice: Wednesday 5 October, 10:00-11:30

We've established a new community of practice for nursing associates and trainee nursing associates working in adult social care.

An opportunity for peer support and also to share good practice. If you are a nursing associate or trainee nursing associate in adult social care and would like to get involved.

Register for the event


A nursing associate contributes to the core work of nursing which frees up the time of a registered nurse so that they can 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 registered by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, educated to foundation degree level, is registered and has a PIN number, accountable for their own practice.

Once registered, you can undertake continuous professional development (CPD) to extend the role to suit your working environment.

The original cohorts of nursing associates trained as part of test sites via the Health Education England programme. However, anyone starting on a programme after 26 July 2019 will start on an NMC approved programme.

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 cand add value to the care being provided. 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.


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.

If you’re part of a large national organisation with multiple sites spread across the country, there are a few options. 


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. 

The register is now open

All nursing associates must meet standards of proficiency standards 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.


Get in touch

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


Case study

Emily Burton shares her experience of becoming a newly-qualified and registered nursing associate. 

Read the case study by NMC.

Hear how the role works in practice

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