The majority of nurses believe that the introduction of the nursing associate role will lead to further reductions in the nursing workforce, a survey by the RCN has found.
The survey of 5230 found 95% of the workforce believe that there are insufficient numbers of registered nurses, and 78% believe that the introduction of the new role will lead to further reductions in staff numbers. Additionally, 81% of respondents were concerned that the new role could cause confusion for patients.
Registered nurses are the backbone of care in this country. They are highly trained to assess and plan nursing care and have a structure of supervision and learning which carries on throughout their careers,’ said Janet Davies, chief executive of the RCN. ‘There are worries that these new roles could result in a continuing lack of registered nurses. These new roles must not be used as a method of substituting support workers for the regulated, knowledgeable workforce of registered nurses.’
Concern about the introduction of the role has also been raised by the NMC. In its official response to the consultation on the role, the council said that the role would need to be formalised and regulated. The RCN survey found that 89% of nurses believe that the new role should be mandatorily regulated, with 65% saying that this should be done by the NMC.
‘Whether or not the new role is regulated – by the NMC or otherwise – the advent of the nursing associate would have implications for nursing to which we would need to respond as the regulator for nurses,’ said the response.
The nurse associate role was announced in December 2015 by health minister Ben Gummer. It was first suggested in the Shape of Caring Review as a step between healthcare assistants and graduate registered nurses. The new
role will be introduced in 2016, with as many as 1000 nursing associates scheduled to have been trained by the end of