Ambitious targets to get 7,000 nursing associates into training in the first two years have been met, Health Education England has revealed.
The government arms-length body confirmed it had managed to get 5,000 people to enrol in a nursing associate apprenticeship in 2018, building on the 2,000 who started in 2017.
“The appetite shown for this role shows no sign of diminishing”
Lisa Bayliss Pratt
Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, HEE chief nurse, said: “The appetite shown for this role shows no sign of diminishing and many people are now seeing the wealth of opportunities that it can provide.
“It is wonderful to see the passion and drive that trainee nursing associates across the country have for working in health and care settings, providing first class care to patients and the public,” she added.
The role was introduced in England by the government to bridge the skills gap between healthcare assistants and registered nurses.
The aim was also to help tackle the nurse shortage by encouraging people to continue training to degree level nursing after completing their two-year nursing associate apprenticeship.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council opened its register to the first qualified nursing associates last month.
“This is a fantastic achievement”
Ian Cumming, chief executive of HEE, said around 40% of the 1,500 nursing associates due to qualify by the end of April had expressed a desire to go on and become registered nurses.
Health minister Stephen Hammond said he was “delighted” that HEE had met its trainee nursing associate recruitment targets.
“This is a fantastic achievement which is down to the hard work of HEE with the support of employers, trades unions, professional bodies and the nursing associates themselves,” he added.
Andrea Sutcliffe, NMC chief executive and registrar, described the trainee nursing associates and their employers and educators as “true pioneers”.
“I’m absolutely sure that the commitment and dedication of nursing associates will make a real difference to the care that people in England receive and I look forward to welcoming them on to our register in the months and years ahead,” she added.
HEE is now looking ahead to its next target of having an additional 7,500 trainee nursing associates in place in 2020.