Around 40% of the first group of nursing associates, due to graduate at the end of 2018, want to go on to become registered nurses.
Professor Ian Cumming, chief executive of Health Education England (HEE), revealed during an education select committee meeting last week that HEE are encouraging nursing associates to train as registered nurses through the nursing degree apprentice route, in an attempt to boost nursing numbers.
And he claimed that around 40% of the current crop of nursing associates wants to enrol on the nursing degree apprentice programme.
He said: ‘The main route HEE are pursuing through to nursing degree apprentice is the ‘2+2’ route – bringing people in to apprentice training as nursing associates, which takes two years. And we know that 40% of the cohort of nursing associates that will be graduating in December want to go on the nursing degree apprentice route.’
Professor Cumming later added that the nursing degree apprentice courses tended be accessed by more mature students, with the 18-year-olds still preferring the traditional undergraduate three-year nursing degree.
But despite the high rate of nursing associates wanting to continue their training as nurses, health minister Steve Barclay felt there was still an opportunity being missed with the number of people who want to be a nurse, but who are being ‘rejected’.
He said: ‘I think the big opportunity is the fact that there are so many people who want to be a nurse who are being rejected. For example if you take Leeds, in the last week or two they advertised 30 nursing degree apprenticeship roles, and within seven days they had 500 applicants.’
Back in June, Professor Cumming stated at the NHS Confed conference that he expected around 17,000 nursing associates to have gone on to train as nurses over the next 10 years.