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Nursing associates could be the answer to the NHS staffing crisis

Nursing associates could be the answer to the NHS staffing crisis as many healthcare trusts struggle to recruit and retain registered nurses.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) estimates there are around 40,000 nursing and midwifery vacancies, which, alongside a significant reduction in student nurses means an influx of nursing associates could go some way to alleviating the pressure on front-line services.

The majority of trainee nursing associates were previously very experienced healthcare assistants with a vast amount of untapped practical knowledge and despite some initial teething problems extra staff will be a welcome sight for many.

According to Health Education England (HEE) the nursing associate role is designed to sit between healthcare support workers (HCAs) and registered nurses (RNs) to assist in delivering hands-on care for patients.

In January, the Nursing and Midwifery Council announced it would create a new part of the NMC register specifically for nursing associates.

Presently, around 2000 trainee nursing associates are taking part in the pilot scheme with the first cohort are due to qualify in January 2019.

We have approached the Royal College of Nursing and Nursing and Midwifery Council for comment.