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Trainee nursing associates say they need more learning time

Almost one in four trainee nursing associates find placement pressures are compromising their learning

Almost one in four trainee nursing associates find placement pressures are compromising their learning


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Almost a quarter of nursing associate trainees say a lack of protected learning time is hindering their academic progress.

A review of the programme found that 23% of respondents to its survey did not have protected learning time or supernumerary status on placement, limiting their scope to learn and catch up with mentors.

The review report revealed 12% of respondents want more time in the classroom, while 11% felt having more and/or longer study days would help them.

‘More needs to be done to ensure the workload of trainees is appropriately managed’

Geraldine Walters, NMC director of education and standards 

Several trainees said they spent too much time performing healthcare assistant duties because of understaffing. More than half (58%) said support from nursing colleagues had helped their work-based learning.

Recommendations to HEE

A total of 1,030 of the 2,000 people now in nursing associate training in England replied to the survey for Health Education England (HEE) in 2017.

The feedback gathered has been used to make several recommendations to HEE, which include:

  • Planning for a suitable length of induction when trainees enter placements.
  • Protecting learning time.
  • Giving trainees supernumerary status on placement.
  • Freeing up more time for academic and independent learning.

HEE chief nurse Lisa Bayliss-Pratt said: ‘It was important for us to ensure we had a robust and reliable evidence base from which to address any emerging issues in the life of the programme.'

The nursing associate role will be regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). The NMC's director of education and standards Geraldine Walters said: ‘More needs to be done to ensure the workload of trainees is appropriately managed.

‘We’ll continue to work closely with HEE to ensure this role is properly understood and successfully implemented.’


Related material

Read the review report here


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