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Why the nursing associate role is dividing opinion

Will nursing associates shore up an overstretched workforce or put patient safety at risk? 
Ian Costello and Kirsten Paisley-Pearce

Will nursing associates shore up an overstretched workforce or put patient safety at risk?

When the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) announced last month it would become the regulator for nursing associates, the reaction was mixed.

The new role, which sits between unregulated healthcare assistants (HCAs) and registered nurses, is welcomed by some as a way to diversify nursing teams and provide career opportunities for HCAs.

Others argue it heralds a dilution of professional expertise, with potentially grave consequences for the registered nurse, patient safety, and nursing associates themselves.

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