The Nursing Associate bridges the gap between Healthcare Support Workers and Registered Nurses, to deliver hands-on, person-centred care as part of the nursing team. They are members of the nursing team, who have gained a Nursing Associate Foundation Degree awarded by a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) approved provider, typically involving two years of higher-level study.
The role helps build the capacity of the nursing workforce and the delivery of high-quality care while supporting nurses and wider multidisciplinary teams to focus on more complex clinical duties. The programme prepares Trainee Nursing Associates to work with people of all ages and in a variety of settings in health and social care. The role also provides a progression route into graduate-level nursing.
The Nursing Associate is a protected title in law and the role is regulated in England by the NMC, which means that you can only be employed into the role if you are qualified and registered as a nursing associate. More information about how the role will be regulated is available on the NMC website.
Pay and benefits
Your standard working week will be around 37.5 hours and may include a mix of shifts, such as nights, early starts, evenings and weekends. As a trainee nursing associate, you’ll usually be paid on band 3 of the Agenda for Change (AFC) pay system, with qualified nursing associates usually employed on band 4.
You’ll also have access to our generous pension scheme and health service discounts, as well as 27 days of annual leave, plus bank holidays, which increases the longer you’re in service.
Your schedule will involve engaging in academic studies for one day each week, alongside practical work-based learning for the remaining days. You will be employed within a healthcare environment, which could encompass settings like acute care facilities, community health centres, mental health hospitals, care homes, and hospices. Additionally you will have the opportunity to gain experience in diverse contexts. This might require travelling to various placements and accommodating a variety of shifts.
Effectively planning and managing the various responsibilities of your job role, academic studies, and placements is of paramount importance. Through this process, you will cultivate a comprehensive comprehension of all facets of nursing and caring for individuals facing conditions such as dementia, mental health issues, and learning disabilities or difficulties.
After you’ve completed your training, you’ll have the knowledge, understanding, skills, attitudes, and behaviours necessary to work as a nursing associate. Qualified nursing associates can also choose to undertake training as a registered nurse by using their training to contribute towards a shortened nursing degree or a Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship (RNDA).
Your nursing associate training might reduce the duration of a RNDA to two years. To learn more about the apprenticeship route, including how to apply, it’s recommended to have a conversation with your line manager, education team, or apprenticeship lead. Your employer might prefer you to complete a year working as a nursing associate before progressing to registered nurse training.