Nursing associates are officially part of the NMC register.
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
Patricia Marquis, Director of RCN England, said: ‘This is a valuable support role designed to work as part of the wider clinical team, however it is not a replacement for a registered nurse. Nursing associates will deliver and monitor care which has been prescribed and evaluated by a registered nurse.’
The new role is designed to widen access to the health and care professions by opening up new routes to training that previously didn’t exist. Trainees are able to earn while they learn, via an apprenticeship. It is particularly designed for those who may have been working as healthcare assistants for a number of years and who want to progress.
‘With England facing a clear shortage of registered nurses, it is vital that employers do not attempt to fill any gaps with nursing associates,’ added Ms Marquis. ‘Nursing associates should never be asked to act outside their remit. This risks putting undue pressure on individuals, who must not be made to carry out duties that fall outside their regulated role. This would be unfair and could potentially threaten patient safety.’