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

New nursing associate role will 'reduce reliance on nurses', says CNO

  • 49 Comments

Nursing associates will “enhance” the quality of personalised care for patients and reduce reliance on registered nurses, the chief nursing officer for England has said in a blog welcoming the announcement of the sites that will test the new role.

Last week Health Education England revealed the initial set of employers and universities where the first 1,000 nursing associates will be trained over the next two years at 11 pilot sites. 

The workforce body also confirmed that a further 1,000 nursing associates would be trained in a second wave due to ”high demand from providers wanting to offer training places”.

Following the announcement, CNO Professor Jane Cummings said that the NHS was under “severe pressure” on a daily basis, but noted that system changes were being made, which provided an opportunity to “re-assess what we do, without abandoning what we have already achieved”.

She highlighted one opportunity was through the introduction of nursing associates, which she said would be a key part of the multi-disciplinary workforce in the future.

“The nursing associate is not a registered nurse but will undertake some of the duties that a registered nurse currently undertakes”

Jane Cummings

Professor Cummings stressed that the role was not a registered nurse, but would take on some elements of care carried out by nurses.

“The nursing associate role is part of developing this contemporary workforce and will work under the direction of a fully qualified registered nurse,” she said in a blog post published on Friday.

“The nursing associate is not a registered nurse but will undertake some of the duties that a registered nurse currently undertakes, enabling the registered nurse to spend more time on the assessment and care associated with both complex needs and advances in treatments,” she said.

“The role is designed to enhance the quality of personalised care, strengthening the support available to registered nursing staff and reducing the reliance and dependency on registered nurses to undertake elements of care that others can be trained to understand and do,” said the CNO.

Nursing associates – designed to sit between healthcare assistants and nurses – will be trained to foundation-degree level through an apprenticeship. It is also expected that they will be able to go on to complete a nursing degree in less time than the usual three years.

“The role is designed to enhance the quality of personalised care, strengthening the support available to registered nursing staff”

Jane Cummings

Professor Cummings said the role had additional benefits, because it would widen access to careers in nursing and “potentially for other health professions”.

“Equally, for those who wish to remain as a nursing associate, the recognised breadth of the training not only provides national recognition and meaningful career development but transferability of skills within different settings such as community and primary care, mental health or social care,” she added.

The CNO said nursing associates – which will begin training in December at 11 sites across England – would provide an extra option for employers and clinical leaders to “safely align the right staff with the right skills to match patient need, dependency and the environment of care”.

“By using appropriate tools and frameworks that support decisions about safe staffing, employers will have increased options about how to manage resources appropriately in accordance with clear, professional and evidenced based guidance,” she said.

A scope of practice for the role is yet to be published and it has not been revealed if, and how, the role will be regulated.

  • 49 Comments

Readers' comments (49)

  • Pussy

    What IS this woman talking about? She is just towing the government line. This is care on the cheap and they all know it.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • So basically we are doing a 180 and going back to the Teo tier system of the 70's with the SRN and SEN.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Totally agree Gillian !! Just a fancy name probably less pay - for the old style enrolled nurses - they always have to fix what is not broken then realise 25 years later and return

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Why has the scope of practice not been released? You cannot train appropriately without SOP.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This is embarrassing for Jane Cummings.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • It's not safe. The nursing associates are being given their own patients to look after in doing so putting pressure on nurses who will be working with them to help them with all medication and IVirginia fluids. If a nurse had 6 patients in an acute setting they then end up with 10 patients to look after. It's frustrating. The government should look devising guidelines on how the nurse associates are going to work otherwise people are going to die needlessly.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • With health care assistants and nursing associates on the wards it is not difficult to imagine there will soon be very few registered nurses available at all. Whilst the general public and government obviously perceive nursing to be mostly being kind and doing a few dressings and injections, we all know differently. What worries me is that by the time the results of this 'experiment' are available it might just be too late to do anything about it.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Where are the assistant practioners who studied predominantly in their own time?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • It has already started, I was at an eye hospital this afternoon and there were plenty of HCAs and a couple of RNs, The HCA who did my eye test was useless and did not get the correct reading, he had a list of things he had to do. Did I feel safe? Heck no!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • what she really means is it will be cheap and wont need to waste money on employing nurses- so folks don't stress with revalidation just become an hca

    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.