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Nursing Associates

Everything you need to know about training to be a Nursing Associate

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The Nursing Associate is a new role within healthcare designed to bridge the gap between Healthcare Assistant and Registered Nurse.

According to Health Education England (HEE) the Nursing Associate role is a new support role which will sit alongside existing healthcare support workers and fully-qualified registered nurses to deliver hands-on care for patients. 

What qualifications will I need to become a Nursing AssociateYou can apply to become a nursing associate even if you don’t have any traditional academic qualifications. The entry requirements will depend on your NHS trust and local university. You should contact them for further clarification.

Are there any other requirements? You’ll need to be fluent in English and have an appropriate level of maths. You will also be required to complete an advanced DRB check (previously known as a CRB).

How much do nursing associates get paid? Trainee nursing associates are paid at band 3 and once qualified nursing associates will be paid at band 4. See agenda for change pay scales

How long does it take to train as a nursing associate? It takes around 2 years full-time to train as a nursing associate – this consists of both clinical and academic work.

What does the nursing associate job entail? The job specification is currently being developed by the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC). You are likely to undertake hand-on personal care for patients, administrations of some medications, documentation and basic clinical assessments.

Will nursing associates be registered? Yes, nursing associates are on-track to be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council. You will be required to pay a yearly membership fee and keep up your professional registration in order to practice. You will be required to uphold a professional code of conduct, not only at work but in your everyday life.

How can I apply to become a nursing associate? Presently, you must be an existing employee of an NHS trust to apply to become a trainee nursing associate. New roles will be advertised internally or via NHS jobs.

Are nursing associates similar to associate practitioners? The role itself may be similar but currently associate practitioners are unregistered. The nursing associate role is designed to be nationally recognised and standardised.

Can nursing associates become registered nurses? The Department of Health and NHS England are currently working on a framework for nursing associates to become registered nurses. It will include academic further study and the further development of clinical skills and knowledge.

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Nursing Associates

NMC called to clarify the responsibility, authority and accountability of Nursing Associates

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The Nursing and Midwifery Council has started to draw up professional standards for Nursing Associates but many call for clarity.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is currently the educational and professional standards of practice for the new nursing associate role but many have called for further clarification on accountability rather than clinical ability.

The nursing associate role is currently being piloted by Health Education England (HEE) with 2,000 nursing associates due to qualify in January 2019 and will be regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

NMC council member and Executive Nurse Director at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, Ruth Walker, has said that an important part of the NMC’s work on the Nursing Associate role would be to clarify what level of responsibility, authority and accountability the associates had – rather than just stating the tasks they should be able to complete.

She went on to explain that; “we need to understand whether it’s the registrant we are holding to account for the delegation of tasks or the nursing associate in their own right“.

Poor planning and a lack of definition from HEE or the NMC has lead to increased anxiety with Registered Nurses around the introduction of the new role.

The NMC plans a formal consultation on the standards and code this spring.

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Nursing Associates

Will Nursing Associates be regulated?

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The Nursing Associate role is designed to bridge the gap between health care assistants and registered nurses.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) have formally confirmed they will regulate the role, provide educational standards and help establish the role within the clinical setting. They will work closely with Health Education England (HEE) to ensure the pilot schemes lead up to NMC registration.

What is a Nursing Associate?

Nursing Associates will be trained to deliver care in a range of primary, secondary, community and social care settings. Training schemes will include both technical knowledge and clinical experience.

The aim of Nursing Associates is not to replace registered nurses or healthcare assistance but provide support.

Will Nursing Associates be regulated?

Yes. The Nursing and Midwifery Council will provide education standards and a new part of the NMC register specifically for Nursing Associates.

Who will Nursing Associates be accountable to?

According to the RCN, Once qualified, nursing associates will be accountable to registered nurses. Registered nurses will always be accountable for any decisions they make around delegation of any tasks, but nursing associates will have to take responsibility for the actions they take.

Will Nursing Associates be able to administer medication?

Health Education England has said nursing associates will only administer medicines “if suitably trained and competent, in settings where it is deemed appropriate and where this is guided by organisational medicines management policies”.

What will Nursing Associates be able to do?

Like many roles this will be dependent on the area and trust deploying the staff and many areas are still developing operating procedures for these staff. You should take a look at the Nursing Associate Job Description for an idea of the skills they will hold.

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