The nursing associate is a new role within the nursing team. Nursing associates work with healthcare support workers and registered nurses to deliver care for patients and the public. It is also a role which is designed to bridge the gap between social care and healthcare.
Nursing associates work across all social care provisions but are mainly found within the residential and nursing home fields. Your skills and responsibilities will vary, depending on the care setting you work in. You'll need to demonstrate the values and behaviours of those working both in social care and within the health care sector.
Your duties are likely to include:
- undertaking clinical tasks including venepuncture and ECGs
- supporting individuals and their families and carers when faced with unwelcome news and life-changing diagnoses
- performing and recording clinical observations such as blood pressure, temperature, respirations and pulse
- discussing and sharing information with registered nurses on a patients' condition, behaviour, activity and responses
- ensuring the privacy, dignity and safety of individuals is maintained at all times
- recognising issues relating to safeguarding vulnerable individuals
To begin your training as a nursing associate, you'll need GCSEs grade 9 to 4 (A to C) in maths and English, or Functional Skills Level 2 in maths and English. Some employers will also ask for a level 3 qualification. You'll also need to show that you can study for a foundation degree level and complete the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship programme.
Trainee nursing associate places are usually advertised on NHS Jobs but some places are available through direct application to universities.
Funding may be available via your employer within the social care sector.
You'll undertake academic learning one day a week and work-based learning the rest of the week. You'll be employed within the social care sector. This will mean travelling to placements and working a mix of shifts.
It is very important to plan and manage the competing demands of your job role, study and placements. You'll develop an understanding of all elements of nursing and caring for individuals with conditions such as dementia, mental ill health and learning disabilities/difficulties.
Once you've finished your training, you'll have the knowledge, understanding, skills, attitudes and behaviours to work as a nursing associate. Qualified nursing associates can also go on to train as a registered nurse by putting their training towards a shortened nursing degree or registered nurse degree apprenticeship (RNDA).
Your nursing associate training may shorten a registered nurse degree apprenticeship to 2 years.
To find out more about the apprenticeship route, including how to apply, speak with your line manager, education team or apprenticeship lead. Your employer may want you to complete a year working as a nursing associate before you progress to registered nurse training.