Nursing associate

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.  

Working life 

Nursing associates work across all four fields of nursing: adult, children’s, mental health, and learning disability.  

Your skills and responsibilities will vary, depending on the care setting you work in. You’ll need to demonstrate the values and behaviours of the NHS Constitution and a knowledge of physical health, mental health and illness prevention.  

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 children and adults  

Checking vital signs

Entry requirements 

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 as a minimum. You will also need to demonstrate your ability to study to level 5 foundation degree level and commit to completing the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship programme.

Some places are available through direct application to universities. Applicants accepted onto courses this way will need to fund their own training.

Training and development 

You will undertake academic learning one day a week and work-based learning the rest of the week. You'll be employed in a specific healthcare setting such as an acute, community or mental health hospital, care home or hospice but also gain experience other health and care settings and situations. 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 will develop an understanding of all elements of the nursing process and of caring for individuals with particular conditions such as dementia, mental ill health and learning disabilities/difficulties.

Qualified nursing associates will be required to work to a nationally recognised code of conduct. Once you’ve finished your training, you’ll have the knowledge, understanding, skills, attitudes and behaviours to work as a nursing associate.  

"The university part of the nursing associate training allowed me to take on more responsibilities and will provide me with career progression – something I never thought I’d achieve!"

Read Martyn's story


The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is responsible for registering and regulating nursing associates. The NMC nursing associate register opened in January 2019.

Read more about the way the NMC regulates nursing associates and see the Standards of proficiency for nursing associates. 

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