The nursing associate apprenticeship standard has been updated to align with the expectations of the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
The NMC began regulation of nursing associates in January this year, following a two-year trial of the role.
“We are confident that it will now meet the needs of the health sector”
The standard, which sets out the knowledge, skills and behaviours expected of apprentices, has been altered to ensure it meets the NMC’s requirements for registration.
The updated document was published today by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education and was developed in partnership with NHS trusts.
The move was welcomed by apprenticeships and skills minister Anne Milton, who worked as a nurse for the NHS for 25 years.
She said: “This new high-quality apprenticeship will make sure those starting a nursing career in the NHS have the skills they need and will pave the ways to a degree level nursing apprenticeship.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone thinking of getting into nursing,” she added.
Sir Gerry Berragan, chief executive of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, said the NHS trusts that led the development of the standard had “made it clear that they need many more nursing associates”.
He added: “We are confident that it will now meet the needs of the health sector, training providers and most importantly the thousands of people who want to earn as they learn.”
“This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone thinking of getting into nursing”
Health minister Stephen Hammond said the launch of the new standard was an “important milestone”.
“Nursing is one of the most rewarding careers and today marks another important milestone in opening up the profession to everyone – a key part of our long-term plan for the NHS,” he said.
“Regulating nursing associates was an important step in recognising this new nursing role and this new apprenticeship standard aligns with the regulator’s standards to allow nursing associates to add a valuable skills mix to the health and social care sector, benefitting patient care,” Mr Hammond added.
Geraldine Walters, director of education and standards at the NMC, said: “At a time when health and care settings rely and depend on a variety of professionals who can support and care for people’s individual needs, this is really positive.
“Since the first nursing associates joined our register in January, we have seen first-hand how proud this wonderful new group of professionals are of their ability to make a huge difference for patients now and for the future,” she added.
Nursing associate is the controversial new role being introduced in England, which is designed to act as a bridge between healthcare assistant and registered nurse.