Who will the first nursing associates be?
The first round of trainees will be a mix of new students and current healthcare assistants and support workers who want to progress.
What training will they receive?
Following a two-year course they will receive a level 5 qualification consisting of a diploma/foundation degree and higher care certificate.
Where will they be trained?
Alongside completing a university course, the trainees will work across the first 11 sites which were picked after HEE asked organisations to apply in June this year. The sites are named as NHS trusts across the country (see box 2) and include a range of organisations across the country including higher education institutions, care homes, acute, community and mental health trusts and hospices as well as primary care services.
Who will pay them?
The tests sites will be given a maximum of £5,000 per student per year by Health Education England to cover the educational costs. In addition, an allocation of a maximum of £1,750 per year will be made per student to cover placement costs. Salaries for trainee NAs will not be paid by HEE and will be covered by the employers.
What will they do?
The NAs will see and treat patients. They will also administer medications including controlled drugs.
Who will be responsible for them?
Registered nurses will be responsible for them. HEE has said they will work ‘under the direction’ of a nurse but not be supervised. The insurance of nursing associates will be covered by the NHS employer.
Will they be regulated?
The health secretary, Jeremy Hunt has asked the NMC to regulate the role. The final decision will be made at the NMC’s next board meeting in January 2017.
How much will they earn?
If NAs qualify after two years at Agenda for Change Band 4 as expected, their annual pay will be set between £19,217 and £22,458.
How will this compare to their colleagues?
Healthcare assistants are usually Band 2 and are paid between £15,251 and 17,978 salary. Assistant practitioners are usually Band 4 and are paid between £19,217 and 22,458. Registered nurses are usually Band 5 and earn between £21,909 and 28,462 annually.
What about the next wave of training?
Another 1,000 trainees will begin their course in April and the new sites will be chosen from the remaining groups of universities and employers who made the original 48 applications to pilot the role.
What can they do with their training?
The nursing associate training aligns with the first two years of the nursing degree and so nursing associates will have a pathway to continue to become a qualified nurse if they wish.
The first 11 test sites:
St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Whittington Health NHS Trust
Bart’s Health NHS Trust
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Trust
Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children Foundation Trust
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust