Student Nurses can be supervised in practice by Nursing Associates

Any registered healthcare professional, even if they are newly qualified, can act as a practice supervisor.

Ian Snug
30 January 2019
student nurse staff nurse

Allowing Nursing Associates to act as ‘Practice Supervisors’ will ensure student nurses are better supported.

Recent changes to the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) educational standards mean that any registered healthcare professional, including registered nursing associates, can act as a practice supervisor for student nurses.


Traditional mentorship roles have been retired in favour of practice supervisors, assessors and academic assessors

Practice supervisors will supervise students on placements, create tailored and inclusive learning experiences, provide feedback and contribute to recommendations for progression. Any registered health or social care professional can undertake this role. According to the NMC, there will be no formal qualification for practice supervisors.

Practice assessors will assess and confirm the students’ achievements for practice learning, and recommend students for progression in partnership with the academic assessor. They must be registered nurses with “appropriate equivalent experience for the student’s field of practice” but “do not need to be physically based or employed in each or any of the environments in which the student is placed.”

Academic assessors will collate and confirm the student’s learning and achievement in theory.


Emma, a placement link tutor from London, says that students will be better supported within placement areas as a result of the changes. She said; “Student nurses often feedback they feel unsupported in practice. Allowing nursing associates to act as practice supervisors ensures student nurses have better support mechanisms in place when working in clinical areas”.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council has confirmed the plans but stressed this should only be done when appropriate.

The new education standards will also see the removal of the cap on simulated practice hours alongside plans to make it easier for nurses and midwives return to practice.

The standards represent two years’ work and have been developed alongside nurses – as well as students, educators, healthcare professionals, charities and patient groups from across the UK.


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