Plans for further 2,000 nursing associates in 2018

Health Education England confirms proposals to train more nursing associates. 
Nurse associate training

Health Education England (HEE) is developing proposals for an additional 2,000 nursing associates to start training in 2018.

Mohammed Javid, a trainee nursing associate at the University of Derby

The healthcare education and training body confirmed the topic was discussed at an HEE board meeting at the end of February.

An HEE spokesperson told Nursing Standard: ‘As mentioned at board, this is something we will be looking into, full details on exactly how this will work are being developed.’

First cohort

Training is already under way for the first cohort of 1,000 nursing associates at 11 pilot sites across England. A further 1,000 will begin their course this year for the role, which is intended to be a bridge between registered nurses and healthcare assistants.

More than 100 students, believed to be the largest intake in the country, began their training as nursing associates at the University of Derby at the start of February.

Nursing associates require two years of training and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has agreed to regulate the role.

Nurse associates should not replace nurses

The RCN and other unions have cautioned that nursing associates should not be used to replace registered nurses at cash-strapped NHS trusts.

RCN general secretary Janet Davies said: ‘The nursing associate role could be an effective addition to the nursing team and we look forward to seeing how it develops.

‘As more people enter training however, it’s vital that they supplement the workforce – rather than replacing registered nurses. The evidence is very clear – without the right number of registered, graduate nurses, patient care suffers and the results can be catastrophic.

Lessons must be learned

‘It is important that the role’s progression is not rushed. This is a significant change to the way care is delivered and lessons must be learned along the way.’

Unison head of health Christina McAnea said: ‘This will be welcome news for the many applicants disappointed not to get a place the first time around.

‘But it’s important that lessons are learned from the pilots so the apprenticeship route works for students and the NHS.’

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