"The introduction of this new role is an important development for the nursing profession and as the regulator for nursing and midwifery we will be carefully considering our role moving forward.
"The starting point for any new role in healthcare has to be its contribution to improving patient safety and quality and as such there will be some important considerations, including whether nursing associates should be regulated.
"It is for the government to determine the policy position in discussion with others, but while we are supportive of widening access into the nursing profession, it will be important that any new routes into the profession have the same robust approach that the existing university degree route provides. As the Minister rightly points out, an apprenticeship in nursing as a route to eventual registered nurse status must 'have complete equality of both esteem and rigour' as a degree.
"We will be responding fully to the consultation and look forward to continuing to work closely with the government and Health Education England on this important issue."
Because the NMC sets the criteria for the registration of new Nurses they are in a fantastic position to help ensure the education undertaken in the alternative routes into nursing is of the same standard of those using the traditional routes.
Currently under consultation the specifics of the role have yet to be outlined but many Nurses have called the new Nursing Associates to hold a registration with either the NMC or Health Professionals Council and have professional accountability for the actions or decisions they make.