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National curriculum for nursing associates reveals new role parameters



Health Education England (HEE) has published the nursing associate (NA) curriculum framework, which shows a reversal of the proposal to allow NAs to administer controlled drugs.

Health Education England (HEE) has published the nursing associate (NA) curriculum framework, which shows a reversal of the proposal to allow NAs to administer controlled drugs.

The comprehensive national curriculum framework, which has defined the role more concretely, will apply to all Level 5 nursing associate education and training programmes.

Nursing associates will be trained “to understand medicine’s management and, within the confines of local employer policies, administer medicines safely and appropriately,” it said.

The associates will therefore not be trained to administer controlled substances as had been previously indicated in a leaked version of the curriculum outline.

The suggestion had caused widespread outcry among the nursing profession who saw it as a risk to patient safety.

NAs will be able to calculate drug doses under delegation however, as well as administering planned nursing interventions and invasive and non-invasive procedures.

“Nursing Associates must be able to work independently, within defined parameters of practice, under the direction of a registered nurse, to deliver care in line with an agreed/defined plan of care,” it stated.

The first 1,000 trainees will begin the two-year course in January 2017.

Professor Lisa Bayliss Pratt, Director of Nursing at HEE said:”We have only reached this point as a result of lengthy consultation with senior nurse leaders, front line nurses and support workers and educators and continued dialogue with key stakeholders, which achieved wide consensus. This work will continue as safety is of paramount importance to us.

Viv Bennett, Public Health England’s Chief Nurse, said: “We will work with Health Education England to include prevention, health protection and promotion of wellbeing in nursing associate training.”

Janet Davies, Chief Executive & General Secretary of the RCN, said: “The evidence is very clear – without the right number of registered, graduate nurses, patient care suffers and the results can be catastrophic.

“We are seriously worried about the speed at which this is being developed. Test sites have been chosen, and programmes start in January 2017, yet the curriculum has only just been announced. This is such a significant change to the way care is delivered, and to career pathways, that it should not be rushed through.”