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”.
- Nursing associate test sites across England revealed
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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”
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”
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.