This site is intended for health professionals only

New nursing support role confirmed by government

A nursing associate role has been introduced to support nurses, the Department of Health has announced.

From next year up to 1,000 nursing associates could be trained through learning on the job via an apprenticeship, leading to a foundation degree.

The Department will “widely” consult on what this role will entail, and what it will be titled in the New Year. The title 'nursing associate' is temporary.

It will be up to individual NHS employers to decide how many nursing associates they need in their organisation.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) welcomed the “recognition of the value of healthcare assistants, and an initiative which will allow them to develop their skills.

“The new roles will assist those graduate nurses and give a route into the profession to people who would otherwise have been denied the opportunity,” Janet Davies, chief executive of the RCN said.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) will now be considering whether the role should be regulated, pointing out that it is important that any new routes into nursing are robustly regulated, in line with the existing university degree route.