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.  

During training, nursing associates are employed in a specific healthcare setting such as an acute, community or mental health hospital, care home or hospice. 

Checking vital signs

To meet the requirements of the two-year training programme, youll work in a range of settings to gain as much experience as possible of different health and care settings and situationsThis will mean travelling to placements and working a mix of shifts.  

Once you’ve finished your training, you’ll have the knowledge, understanding, skills, attitudes and behaviours to work as a nursing associate.  

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 cannulation, 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  

Entry requirements 

To begin your training as a nursing associate, you’ll need GCSEs grade 9 to 4 (A to Cin maths and English, or key skills level 2 in maths and English.  

Training and development 

To become a nursing associate, you will undertake academic learning one day a week and work-based learning the rest of the week 

You will need to demonstrate your ability to study to level 5 foundation degree level, and commit to completing the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship programme. The Government announced in 2017 that 5,000 people would begin on programmes in 2018. Half of the group is expected to begin by April 2018 and the remaining 2,500 by September 2018. 

It will be very important to plan and manage the competing demands of your job role, study and placement activities. You will need to 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. 


The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) will be responsible for regulating nursing associates. It plans to open the register in January 2019. Read more about the way the NMC will reguiate nursing associates.

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