What is a Nursing Associate?

A Nursing Associate (NA) is a new stand-alone role developed to support the existing nursing team and help bridge the skills gap between Healthcare Support Workers (HCSW) and Registered Nurses (RGN) to improve patient care.

As of July 2019, Nursing Associates are regulated by the Nursing Midwifery Council (NMC) and on completion of the course are entered onto the NMC register as a Nursing Associate.

The NMC have released a ‘Standards of Proficiency for Nursing Associates’ which states that they are individually accountable for their own professional conduct, practice and they are expected to uphold the NMC code and will renew their registration via the usual revalidation process.

The Nursing Associate role concept was established following The Shape of Caring Review published by Health Education England (HEE) in March 2015. The function of the role was to support RGNs to allow them to focus on more complex clinical duties which Registered Nurses are increasingly required to undertake and is not designed to act as a substitute to Registered Nurses.

What can Nursing Associates Do?

The NMC have a set of standards specifically designed for Nursing Associates and those on the Nursing Associate programmes. These set out what a Nursing Associate should know and be proficient in when they join the register.

Like other registered professionals, Nursing Associates can develop further knowledge and skills before and after registration and is not limited to their initial competences. Where suitable when they have received adequate training and there is relevant clinical governance can contribute more to patient care.

Entry Requirements

  • Employed in a suitable healthcare role on a permanent contract exceeding 30 hours per week
  • Employers support to undertake the course
  • Confirmed eligibility to be funded as an Apprentice as set out within the ESFA’s funding rules
  • Evidence of level 3 study in a related subject e.g. A Levels, BTEC in health and social care
  • Level 2 qualifications in Maths and English e.g GCSE at Grade C/4 and above or equivalent
  • Enhanced DBS for the Adult and Child Workforce within the last 12 months
  • Occupational Health clearance from your employer

Please note entry requirements vary between university.
The above criteria are for Anglia Ruskin University for more information see the university website below.

What value will Nursing Associates Bring to General Practice?

General Practice Nurses (GPNs) are embracing more advanced roles such as prescribing, treatment of minor illnesses and minor injuries and manging more complex long term conditions which were traditionally the domain of General Practitioners (GPs) to meet the growing demand within Primary Care. Consequently, Nurse Associates are best placed to support GPNs with their routine responsibilities. Furthermore, once qualified Nurse Associates are registered with the Nursing Midwifery Council (NMC) similar to nurses. With continued professional development Nursing Associates may be able to contribute more within the nursing team such as cervical cytology screening.

Joanne Kirlew

Nurse Associate

My name is Joanne Kirlew and I am a Registered Nursing Associate. The Nursing Associate role is a new position that will bridge the gap between a registered nurse and healthcare support worker.

I came to Nursing later in life at the age of 36, I commenced working at the Johnson Community Hospital in Spalding in the Independent Living Team (ILT) as a Clinical Support worker. I worked in this role for 6 years before moving to the Welland ICT community nursing team as a Senior Healthcare Support Worker (SHCW). During my time as a SHCW the role of the trainee Nursing Associate was advertised. When I heard that the nursing associate role offers a higher level support position, the chance to progress to becoming a registered nurse and the chance to earn as I learn, I thought this position was ideal for me.

The course is full-time and entails time at university and in practice, I quickly learnt that time management and taking advantage of all learning opportunities, along with a desire to put patients at the heart of all care given and provide excellent person-centred care, is the key to succeeding.

I qualified and graduated in January 2019, I have taken up a Band 4 position as a registered Nursing Associate in the Welland ICT, community nursing team. Following additional training in my Trust, I now support the registered Nurses in my team by carrying out tasks that enable the registered nurses to focus on more complex clinical care. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to work alongside and learn from amazing and talented Health and Social care professionals of all specialities. I have thoroughly enjoyed my training and have met some inspirational people throughout my journey.

This training has facilitated expanding my skills and my confidence has increased in my own abilities. I am competent in linking theory to practice, facilitating excellent evidence based best practice to the patients in my care. I will forever be indebted to my wonderful family, friends, colleagues and University for helping me to achieve more than what I thought I was capable of.

For support with applying for Nursing Associate posts within Primary Care in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire please contact the Training Hub Nurse Educator, Kathryn Caley

Email: kcaley@nhs.net

Telephone number: 01733 666670

Working hours: Mon-Thu

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