First qualified nursing associates enter the workforce

Nursing regulator the Nursing and Midwifery Council is accepting its first registrations from nurse associates – a new type of nursing professional in England.

According to the NMC, around 1,800 nursing associates are expected to qualify over the course of the next few months.

The new role is designed to bridge the gap between health and care assistants and registered nurses. It was announced by the Government in 2016 and was developed by Health Education England (HEE).

Standards of proficiency for a nurse associate are set out by Skills for Care. There are six platforms of proficiency:  

  • Being an accountable professional
  • Promoting health and preventing ill health
  • Provide and monitor care
  • Working in teams
  • Improving safety and quality of care
  • Contributing to integrated care

Nursing associates will have a foundation degree, and pre-registration training typically involves two years of higher education, including placements.  As an example of their skillset, nurse associates will be able  to perform a range of nursing procedures and manage devices, meet people’s needs for nutrition, hydration and bladder and bowel health, mobility, hygiene, oral care, wound care and skin integrity.

Training can be completed via an apprenticeship, making it an attractive option for working healthcare assistants, for example. Some 7,500 nurse associates are expected to start their training in 2019, adding to the 5,000 who were expected to start their training last year.  

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