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Responsibilities of nursing associates revealed by Health Education England

Nursing associates will only be able to administer medicines if suitably trained and competent, in settings where it is deemed appropriate, and will be guided by employer medicines management policies, according to Health Education England (HEE).

Nursing associates will only be able to administer medicines if suitably trained and competent, in settings where it is deemed appropriate, and will be guided by employer medicines management policies, according to Health Education England (HEE)


A total of 2,000 nursing associate roles will be created in England. Picture: Dan Mitchell

The role is intended to bridge the gap between healthcare assistants and qualified nurses.

But HEE’s plans were heavily criticised after a draft of the nursing associate curriculum, which was leaked earlier this month, revealed those in the role might be able to administer controlled drugs.

Evidence-based guidance 

HEE has now published a final version of the curriculum and said it ‘recognises the strength of views in relation to the administration of controlled drugs by nursing associates’.

It will set up a group next year consisting of staff from across the health and care system to provide evidence-based guidance on this element of the role.

HEE director of nursing and deputy director of education and quality Lisa Bayliss-Pratt said the curriculum would ensure trainees were ready.

‘We will train these new nursing associates to understand medicines management and to administer medicines safely and in a timely manner, within the confines of local employer policies,’ she said. 

‘Seriously worried’

A total of 2,000 nursing associate roles will be created in England, with the first 1,000 due to start training at 11 test sites from December. The 2-year training programme will include practice placements in a variety of health and care settings.

RCN general secretary Janet Davies said while she was pleased the curriculum made it clear that role development and allocation of work must always take place under the right level of supervision, the college was ‘seriously worried’ about the speed at which the role was being developed.

‘This is such a significant change to the way care is delivered. It should not be rushed through,’ she said.

HEE supports regulation of nursing associates and said it was waiting for the Department of Health to confirm its position.


Further information

Nursing associate national curriculum framework

 

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