University launches self-funded nursing associate degree pathway

The two-year full-time course has broken away from the apprenticeship route.

Matt Bodell
12 July 2019
Clinical Skills Suite, Chesterfield.

Direct entry allows for trainee nursing associates to be fully supernumerary.

The University of Derby has launched one of the countries first self-funded nursing associate foundation degree pathways.


Their two-year full-time course has broken away from the traditional apprenticeship route, offering students ‘direct entry’ into a programme that is “more like a student nurse programme in the way it is taught and organised.”

Direct entry trainee nursing associates will study the same content and undertake the same number of practice hours as their apprentice counterparts but will benefit from full supernumerary status – allowing for better learning and development opportunities.

Applicants will be required to have a level 2 qualification in English, a level 2 qualification in Maths, 64-80 UCAS points, undertake a criminal background check and meet any occupational health standards.

The course will subject to tuition fees of £9,250 per year.


Upon completion of the course, students will also be given the opportunity to join the universities undergraduate nursing programme at the half-way point.

Education makes a difference.

David Robertshaw, Head of Pre-Qualification Healthcare at the University of Derby, told NursingNotes; “We were one of the first pilot sites and had the largest single-University group of trainee nursing associates in the first wave. We’re really proud of our first wave of nursing associates who completed their programmes earlier this year and who will graduate in July at Derby Velodrome.”

“Nationally there are number targets for the role, and we need to work together as integrated systems to achieve these. We don’t think these targets can be met by apprenticeship trainee nursing associates alone, so this is one of the reasons we’ve decided to start a non-apprenticeship pre-registration programme which is a bit more like a student nurse programme in the way it is taught and organised.”

“We also recognise there are great workforce challenges looming, and we need as many qualified and trained people as possible to work in our health and care systems.


“We believe health and care systems should be designed around their users, and that people should see the right professional at the right time. We also know that education really makes a difference to not just the patient’s experience but also their survival.

“But we also know that there are many people who can’t enter into professional training programmes for lots of reasons, but who would still make excellent health and social care professionals.”

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