Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has asked the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to regulate the new nursing associate role.
NMC chief executive and registrar Jackie Smith said that there has been strong support for the nursing associate role and the Department of Health has now decided that it is a role that requires regulation.
‘As an organisation we are well equipped to take on the role of the regulator, however, this decision will be made by our Council at its meeting on 25 January,’ she said.
The RCN has welcomed the announcement for the NMC to regulate the role.
The consultation into the role, carried out by Health Education England, found that the majority of nurses felt that the role should be regulated and that the NMC was the organisation to do it.
Around 760 respondents said that the role should be regulated and the next largest group of respondents (241) thought it should be registered.
Those advocating regulation identified a number of benefits including patient safety, public reassurance, accountability, professional credibility, protection of the new professionals and the administration of medicines.
The nurse associate role has been introduced to bridge the gap between registered nurses and healthcare assistants.
They will be introduced into the NHS from 2017.
Mr Hunt laid out these plans in his keynote speech at the NHS Providers annual conference in Birmingham. In the same speech he also announced that he would look into creating a career pathway for advanced nurse practice and also to encourage more doctors and nurses to apply for leadership roles in the NHS.