About the Nursing Associate Role

A nursing associate is a new member of the nursing team in England that bridges the gap between healthcare support workers and registered nurses. They deliver hands-on, person-centered care as part of the nursing team to people of all ages and in a variety of settings in health and social care. They are trained and can work across all disciplines such as adult, paediatric, mental health, learning disabilities, acute care, community care, primary care and social care. The role will contribute to the core work of nursing, freeing up registered nurses to focus on more complex clinical care.

The nursing associate role is a stand-alone role but can also provide a progression route into graduate level nursing if desired.

In 2015 a Health Education England (HEE) review, Shape of Caring, identified a gap in skills and knowledge between healthcare assistants and registered nurses.

In response to this the nursing associate role was developed to help build the capacity of the nursing workforce and the delivery of high-quality care. It is a vital part of the wider health and care team and aims to:

  • support the career progression of healthcare assistants
  • enable nurses to focus on more complex clinical work
  • increase the supply of nurses by providing a progression route into graduate-level nursing.

HEE carried out a six-week public consultation on the new role to help its development.

Most people who responded to the HEE consultation were in favour of nursing associate regulation. There was a strong view that without regulation, the role might not be used to its full scope. The Secretary of State agreed that regulation was needed to protect the public and asked us to regulate the role.

In July 2018, nursing associates became regulated by the NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council). Standards of proficiency for nursing associates were created in order to ensure standardisation of the role. All nursing associates must meet these standards to join and remain on the NMC register; without registration they are not able to work.

Nursing Associate Role in our organisations

Here are a few registered and trainee nursing associates and their managers from a range of disciplines and organisations.