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Nursing associate programme: quarter of those who quit failed academic assessments

Evaluation advises introduction of pre-application numeracy programmes

Evaluation advises introduction of pre-application numeracy programmes


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Nearly a quarter of trainees who dropped out of a nursing associate programme in England left due to failing their academic assessments, an evaluation has found.

The analysis, commissioned by Health Education England (HEE), examined the progress of the 2,021 people on the first two pilot cohorts between February 2017 and February 2019. 

Independent reviewers Traverse conducted the evaluation and found that of the 328 trainees who left the programme, 75 (23%) did so due to failing the course’s exams and written requirements.

Traverse said the findings suggest that, before starting the programme, trainees need more support in the form of pre-application numeracy programmes.

HEE chief nursing officer Mark Radford said attrition and numeracy are areas the organisation must address.

Enthusiastic trainees look to the future

A positive finding from the evaluation was that 85% of trainees approaching the end of the programme said they felt ready to enter the workforce. 

Also, 65% said they intended to continue working as a nursing associate in their current place of training in the next year.

The reviewers also found that 47% wanted to start a pre-registration nursing degree within three years of qualifying as an associate.

HEE’s lead for the development of the role Lisa Bayliss-Pratt said it was ‘pleasing to see that the role is being considered as a stepping stone to becoming a registered nurse, as was originally intended’.


Read the independent evaluation


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