Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

HEE nursing director says there is support for nursing associate role

  • 32 Comments

There is a “strong appetite” for the introduction of nursing associates, according to those leading consultation on the new role.

Plans to create the role, which have divided opinion, were revealed by Nursing Times last year and subsequently confirmed in a government announcement in December.

“We were talking about this role and there is a real appetite for it”

Lisa Bayliss-Pratt

It was originally referred to as an “associate nurse” role but this was subsequently altered slightly to “nursing associate” by the Department of Health – though the precise title is yet to be set in stone.

The move is intended to bridge the gap between healthcare assistants and nurses, and create potential a new route into registered nursing. A consultation on it, spear-headed by Health Education England (HEE), has now closed and the body is in the process of analysing the results.

HEE’s director of nursing Lisa Bayliss-Pratt told Nursing Times the early indications were there was support and enthusiasm for the concept.

“I was in Northumbria last week and the Isle of Wight and we were talking about this role and there is a real appetite for it,” she said. “But as ever the devil’s in the detail. Will it be regulated? What’s the education level of attainment? What’s its title? How does it fit with the therapy professions?”

“It has not just been a smattering of people and it certainly has not been done in a dark corner”

Lisa Bayliss-Pratt

She said the consultation had attracted around 1,388 responses and HEE was “delighted in the level of interest”.

“From a sneak preview of who has actually responded, I am delighted to see we have got third sector involvement, royal medical colleges, the Royal College of Nursing and arm’s length body responses, as well as many individual responses from student nurses, support workers and registrants,” she said.

“That’s fantastic because it has not just been a smattering of people and it certainly has not been done in a dark corner,” she said. “The reach it has had has been really impressive.”

Analysis of consultation responses would show whether people want the role or not, she noted.

“It feels like they do, to be quite frank,” she said. “Whatever the answers are to the title, the regulation, the education attainment, how it fits with the team, there does seem to be a strong appetite.

“It’s really exciting and I can’t wait to see the findings and explore the analysis in more detail,” she told Nursing Times.

Prior to the consultation, reaction to the new role’s creation had been mixed. Many directors of nursing declared their support for the idea, while unions had warned that it must be viewed as supplementary to registered nurses, rather than as a substitute.

In a Nursing Times survey of nearly 1,000 nurses at the end of last year, 47.5% of respondents said they welcomed the role, 36% said they were unsure and 16.5% said they were opposed.

Dr Bayliss-Pratt also said the HEE consultation had “shone a light” on some key questions for the nursing profession, including how best to create career paths for support workers and “raise the bar of the support workforce”.

“In turn that raises questions about what graduate nurses do, how they should be operating and what kind of knowledge and skills they need in order for this role to be successful,” she said.

Dr Bayliss-Pratt said HEE would not embark on next steps until the analysis of the consultation had been completed.

“We have thought about how we would work pilots, but we still need to work through the analysis and decide whether people really want it. Until then we can’t confirm anything,” she said.

“Provisionally we have thought about 1,000 people for next year. But until we’ve got the data and until we know it’s what people want it would be foolish to start that conversation,” she added.

 

  • 32 Comments

Readers' comments (32)

  • In my opinion let the diskilling of nursing begin and the ever upward movement leading to less operational nursing care. We know the statistics say there is a worry here but hey never mind what the ground level think.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Should be called how to get cheaper less educated and skilled nursing care whilst deskilling nurses in to becoming cheap managers. Oh well there's always a bonus in that middle management and higher will become less. They should all be threatened but havnt caught on yet. HEE what are you doing?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • michael stone

    'I am delighted to see we have got third sector involvement, royal medical colleges, the Royal College of Nursing and arm’s length body responses, as well as many individual responses from student nurses, support workers and registrants,” she said.'

    I've an idea that I sent something in to that consultation - no 'shout out' to me in the above: some NT readers will, knowing how 'thin-skinned I am', understand my deep distress at being 'ignored' by Dr Bayliss-Pratt.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Michael you are such a narcissist!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • It is Nurses that cannot grasp that this system needs a fresh approach who are narcissist NOT Michael, He might have his own oppinions but hey haven't we all ?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I think we need to see a lot more detail before either welcoming or rejecting the move - while I can see some benefits like creating a stairway by which people can develop their nursing knowledge and skills at a speed that suits them and to a level they find best, this is no use if someone else has decided this finishes at the fourth floor and they start knocking down higher floors. Nurse education has for too long been a single dose three year treatment and I would welcome a more flexible approach but I want to engage builders not a demolition squad!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • it will cut down on the number of Registered Nurses. why don't people question how to make Doctor,Dentist,Vet training shorter? While I do endorse support staff training, some research(search for nurse-led -patient outcomes) indicates a Registered Nurse- who has time to support and lead and work with people delivers more "effective care". Not a Nurse doing a majority of ticking the boxes admin. Think a lot of the debates cater on you don't need qualifications to wipe bottoms and as long as you are "nice and Practical" and don't get above yourself professionaly..They are not going to tackle fundamental issues of funding, staff-patient ratios, lack of support staff etc. Just get a bunch of hcs(foundation degree educated so good on them) and things will be fine. Registered Nurses you have being warned yet again!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • confidence,depth and breadth of knowledge . Is this going to be in place to make major life saving decisions in a timely manner ?.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I believe some people trained to NVQ 3level, are being employed as Level 2 (or whatever it is now called), where will the associate Nursing workers stand?And what about the Assistant Practioners (who have studied predominantly in their own time) has it worked out ?From anectonal accounts , it seems some trained staff are threatened, and there are fewer vacancies. After all, why pay someone more, when one can employ a "lower grade"( not a lower person obviously)!.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • So this was a secret consultation? i was never asked about it.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Show 102050results per page

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.