Health Education England (HEE) is planning to develop another 2,000 training places for nursing associates from 2018, it has announced.
The organisation announced the move at its board meeting on 28 February, following the news that the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) will regulate the nursing associate role.
A HEE spokesperson said that the exact details of how this will work are currently ‘being developed’.
The role, which is meant to bridge the gap between healthcare assistants and registered nurses, could also act as a new pathway into nursing training for those who wish to progress their careers.
HEE said it ‘expects test site partnerships to have concrete plans in place to support qualifying nursing associates progress into employment’, and will review employer plans and progress in this area throughout the two-year pilot.
The first 1,000 nursing associates are currently undergoing their two-year training at 11 pilot sites across England and a further 1,000 trainees will begin their course this year at a total of 35 test sites.
‘It’s important that lessons are learned’
Unison head of health Christina McAnea said: ‘This will be welcome news for the many applicants disappointed not to get a place the first time around.
‘But it’s important that lessons are learned from the pilots so the apprenticeship route works for students and the NHS.’
The union also welcomed the announcement that the NMC will regulate of the role.