This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

What will nurse associates bring?

Written by: | Published:

Is there a need for a new nursing role? Is there a need for a new nursing role?

The QNI is currently completing its submission to Health Education England in response to the consultation on the introduction of a ‘nurse associate’ role. The proposal has arisen from the Shape of Caring report on the future education of nursing and care professionals.

The suggestion of another role to support nurses appears perplexing. There are, in the community and primary care, already many band 4 healthcare and nursing assistants who provide excellent support for registered nurses. Their role is delegated from the nurse and very often they deliver care on their own, in a patient’s home, behind closed doors. The registered nurse must be totally confident that their assistant has the skills, knowledge and competence to undertake their work without direct supervision. Nursing assistants working in the community and primary care require a significant amount of training and education, in addition to regular updates and clinical supervision.

The proposal for community and primary care is not so much about a changed role, as a consistent level of education and training for all healthcare and nursing assistants across the UK, providing a common set of transferable skills and knowledge – and the potential for professional regulation.

At University College London Hospitals, a level of training for nursing assistants at all band levels was introduced several years ago, to ensure consistency within and across the group of Trust hospitals. At the same time, the term ‘nursing assistant’ was introduced to properly describe the role to patients. All nursing assistants were required to complete the training, providing a level of assurance of the knowledge and skills of these support staff.

Similarly, the proposal for the education and training of the nurse associate role would provide a level of consistency in the training and education for all those working in the UK. It is possible that this will pave the way for regulation of the support role at this level - and it would be a wasted opportunity if this were not explored as the next logical step.

Without professional regulation, the opportunity for multiple routes by which the required programme of education will be delivered arises – and there will be no control around the delivery of the curriculum or the assessment methods needed to ensure the consistency that is at the heart of these proposals.

Crystal Oldman, chief executive, Queen’s Nursing Institute

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.


I havve just sent a comment pretty much analogous to what is being suggested on Associate Nurses.
Quite a good idea if well thought out pilotted for best outcomes and efficacy before forward implementation and training
Posted by: ,
I think this is just a revamp of the enrolled nurse. The enrolled nurse was deemed a not a fit for purpose role then and it is difficult to see why this post would be appropriate now! This is just a financial move to reduce costs and to fill the gap of unfilled nursing posts!
Posted by: ,
The observations so far from the QNI are sensible and very rational. It is my opinion that the professional nursing landscape does not need to have an additional support worker created - the references to SENs and the earlier State Enrolled Assistant Nurses (SEANs) regulated by the old General Nursing Council (GNC) have been highlighted and the arguments well made. Additional titles alone will not salvage the workforce challenges - investment must be made in our existing HCAs with streamlined access to RN status. I hope that the QNI voice is listened to and acknowledged.

Mike Paynter
Consultant Nurse
Posted by: ,

Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code

Read a free issue from Practice Nursing

Register to read a free issue from our sister publication, Practice Nursing.

Including articles on asthma, diabetes and more. Read your copy.


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.