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Details of trainee nursing associates' pay and competencies revealed in advert

  • 25 Comments

The first job advert for trainee nursing associates at an NHS trust in Manchester has revealed some of the competencies the role is likely to be trained in, including knowledge of medications and their administration, as well as monitoring patients’ vital signs.

In addition to taking and recording vital signs – temperature, blood pressure, respiration and pulse – the advert states trainees will be taught to measure and record patients’ body waste and fluid intake, and also record and monitor their diet.

Those in the new role will also “perform and record” blood glucose levels – by using finger pricks and blood glucose monitoring equipment – as well as urine testing. Results from both of these must be reported to a registered practitioner, according to the advert.

The job posting was published by Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, one of the 11 organisations chosen to lead the piloting of the new role across health and social care organisations in England from December.

It also revealed the wages that trainee nursing associates will earn during the two-year pilot programme, further details about the qualification they will receive, and who is eligible to apply.

However, Health Education England – the body responsible for developing the role – said the national job description for trainees and their rates of pay were still being finalised and that the trust’s advert was only based on a model version.

The body also stressed that the final job description for qualified nursing associates would not be produced until a full evaluation of the test sites had been carried out.

According to the advert, those training to become nursing associates will be paid band 2 wages on the NHS Agenda for Change payscale in their first year before moving on to a band 3 salary in the final year of the programme. It also noted that university fees would be government-funded through HEE during the pilot.

“Some model trainee job descriptions for the nursing associate role are currently under development”

Lisa Bayliss-Pratt

The salary for a qualified nursing associate – designed to sit between a healthcare assistant and nurse – that worked in the NHS was “likely” to be at band 4, it added.

Following completion of the “generic” training programme, participants will achieve a foundation degree as an adult, children’s or mental health nursing associate, said the advert.

However, the posting states those who qualify will not automatically be given a job as a nursing associate, and that they will instead have to apply from a pool of jobs across Greater Manchester.

Meanwhile, people currently working as senior HCAs – known as assistant practitioners – will not be able to apply for the nursing associate training pilot, according to Central Manchester University Hospitals.

This was because assistant practitioners were already trained to foundation degree-level, said the trust. Instead, a top-up programme was due to be developed over the next 12 months for assistant practitioners to gain a nursing associate qualification, it said.

“The NHS Staff Council’s job evaluation group will make an assessment of the pay banding applicable”

Lisa Bayliss-Pratt

Applicants to the nursing associate training programme will need to have level two ”functional” skills in English and maths, preferably demonstrated by GCSEs grades A to C.

They will also need to demonstrate an “ability to study at diploma level with a commitment to complete a foundation degree programme”, and have prior experience working in healthcare, said the advert.

In a statement provided to Nursing Times, HEE’s director of nursing Lisa Bayliss-Pratt said: “To be clear, these are our test sites and there will be full evaluation of the sites before any final model job descriptions can be produced for these roles.”

“Some model trainee job descriptions for the nursing associate role are currently under development, which this trust has based its job description on,” she said.

“They will be agreed at an HEE implementation group which includes NHS Employers and trade unions,” she said. “The NHS Staff Council’s job evaluation group will make an assessment of the pay banding applicable to these roles under the Agenda for Change rules. The expectation would be that national terms and conditions should be followed.

“Trusts will be starting training programmes in December so are keen to start testing the market early. Trusts will be recruiting from a broad pool of people with varying skills and experience and need to have flexibility in their recruitment and employment practices,” she added.

  • 25 Comments

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Readers' comments (25)

  • It doesn't look that different from what HCSW already do, except for the distribution of medication.....

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  • When will HEE actually state what the actual difference is between new NA role and existing AP role

    Both are foundation degree level or equivalent
    Both do basic clinical skills dependant on area of work

    Reinventing the wheel one thinks!!!

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  • Anonymous comment above, I totally agree. I am an Assistant Practitioner at CMFT and cannot apply due to already having the degree. So what exactly is the difference in the two roles???

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  • What a load of twaddle... as a HCA with many years service and already doing most of that but will not get to apply as not in the click. Where once again does that leave us when we have yet another group of staff who think they are above touching the patient. Also why will Uni fee,s be paid when students will have to receive loans from 2017?

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  • Why on earth should I as AP with a foundation degree should I have to "top up"!! I'm already doing this proposed role and more!!!

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  • This seems very unfair on the APs rather insulting that they have to do top up training.

    The HCAs I work with already do the vital obs, measuring body fluids etc, except for administering medication.

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  • Besides medication they are all ready jobs that nursing assistants/health care/support workers do, a foundation degree is an expensive way to go about deskilling the present staff team.

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  • Surely this is about team development to ensure patients needs are met overall. Does it matter what grade we are? Never mind the grade, address patient needs and grasp the nettle of change. Be proactive in identifying and leading change. My MA never prevented me from striving to ensure all health care needs were assessed and met. If it meant toileting, bed bathing so be it. Remember the comfort, safety, dignity and respect our patients and families deserve of our once proud NHS, relies on us working together in a happy and cohesive team.

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  • Perhaps Anne has a point here. When reading the comments on this and other pages, I am concerned that there seems to be no one who is designated - and proud -to concentrate on basic care. Have you ever had a family member in hospital? Have you ever had to help with basic care yourself because everyone, including the HCA's are all running around doing 'important things' like vital signs, taking blood, ECG's etc. My worry is that now it will be even more difficult to make basic care a priority as all HCW will be 'vying' to prove how important and skilled they are.

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  • But, Anne, surely a "happy and cohesive team" isn't made up of people with different job titles doing the same job.

    The government and regulatory bodies are presenting us with the King's new clothes, touting the nursing associate role as something new when in fact there's nothing new there at all. As others have pointed out, assistant practitioners are doing almost exactly the same role right now. A rose by any other name smells just as sweet.

    The lack of information regarding logistics is also worrying. Where will the NA fit onto, say, a night shift on a ward that is currently staffed with 2 x RN's and 2 x HCA's?

    Will they replace a HCA? (Unlikely)
    Will they be additional? (More unlikely)
    Will they replace an RN? (BINGO!)

    And therein lies the rub... £££. Cost saving and nursing on the cheap. On top of years of blatant pay freezes, this government are now systematically and covertly reducing the salaries of nurses. They made training to be a registered nurse expensive by making it degree only and abolishing bursaries, forcing people down this new NA pathway, which will cost the government less than the now defunct diploma route. Then these new band 4 NA's can replace the more expensive band 5 RN's, thus saving more money.

    The next thing will be the renegotiation of Agenda for Change and the loss of enhancements on Saturdays and part of night shifts. Brace yourselves, it's coming.

    Our profession is being devalued. Nurses are in short supply at the moment and when things are in short supply and demand is high they are worth MORE, not less.

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