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HEE launches new nursing associate curriculum

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Nursing associates work between nurses and HCAs Nursing associates will be used to bridge the gap between nurses and HCAs

Health Education England (HEE) has released the curriculum framework for the new nursing associate role.

The curriculum outlines how the role will work alongside the exisitng nursing and healthcare assistant workforce and the ways that they will be assessed academically and during clinical placements.

It also outlines a number of parameters for the role where associate nurses will be unable to operate. This includes the decision to make safeguarding referrals, prescribing, discharging from a service and acting autonomously to change the prescribed plan of care.

Professor Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, director of nursing and deputy director of education and quality at HEE, said that it was absolutely vital that the future workforce is flexible enough to adapt to developments in healthcare.

'Most importantly, of course, we will train these new nursing associates to understand medicines management and to administer medicines safely in a timely manner, within the confines of local employer policies. This will ensure nursing associates play a fundamental part in supporting registered nurses to provide our patients with the high quality care they deserve,' she said.

Over 1000 nursing associates will begin training this year with another 1000 due to begin training in the near future. Eleven sites have been chosen to deliver the training which will start next month including Kingston University and St George’s, University of London.

Chief nursing officer, Jane Cummings said that the introduction of nurse associates was a 'positive and welcome step forward' and Viv Bennett, Public Health England's chief nurse welcomed the new role.

The new role aims to bridge the gap between health and support workers who have a care certificate and graduate registered nurses. It offers opportunities for healthcare assistants to progress into nursing roles.

Trainee nursing associates will work under the direction of a fully-qualified registered nurse and will be able to undertake some of the duties that the registered nurse currrently undertakes.

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