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What is a Nursing Associate?

The Nursing Associate (NA) is the newest member of the nursing team with the first Nursing Associates being registered in 2019. A Nursing Associate is able to deliver hands-on, person-centred care for people of all ages in a variety of settings in health and social care organisations, working under the direction of a Registered Nurse. The Nursing Associate role is regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and is a status protected professional title.

What does the Nursing Associate training programme look like?

The Nursing Associate training is a 2-year foundation degree delivered either via an apprenticeship or a direct funded entry route with the majority of Nursing Associates training via the apprenticeship route. Only NMC approved providers can deliver the programme and there are a number of universities across London who are approved to deliver a Nursing Associate programme.

All trainee Nursing Associates will be required to:

  • Undertake academic and work based learning

  • Complete a 2 year course requirements include placements, attendance at university with NMC stipulated set number of learning hours with a minimum 2,300 programme hours and must include equal balance of theory and practice learning

  • Approximately 500 alternative placement hours per year are required across all disciplines of nursing and in all 3 settings where patients can receive care – in hospital, close to home and at home

Entry Requirements
  • GCSE passes in Maths and English (grade 9-4 or A-C) or equivalent
    • Functional Skills Level 2 is considered equivalent and staff can be supported to achieve these qualifications

  • A contractual agreement in place which states that the applicant has a full-time contract of employment

As this is an entry level post, applicants do not need to have direct health or social care experience - for employers, this means that you can stipulate your own additional recruitment requirements. For instance, there are trainee Nursing Associates who were previously employed in non-clinical roles although this would be decided by the employer.

What are the benefits of the role to organisations?
  • Increases an organisations’ capacity to deal with the clinical needs of patients and residents

  • Key part of a cost effective nursing team who can work together within the care plan to maximise skill sets

  • Supports staff retention by promoting career progression within organisations

  • Helps attract high quality staff to organisations by offering career progression and workforce development

  • A cost effective way to develop staff as apprenticeship training costs can be fully funded.

To date employers have also received a financial contribution from Health Education England (now NHSE). If utilising the apprenticeship route, the staff member will need to be employed as a trainee Nursing Associate for the duration of the programme.

Support with recruitment and employment of a trainee Nursing Associate is available with resources including model job descriptions and contracts. In order to have the training completely funded employers who are not apprenticeship levy payers will to need to have a levy transfer arranged and the ICS TNA Lead is able to help with this.

Financial support packages

HEE currently offer employers a total amount of £8,000 per trainee Nursing Associate to support work based learning and workforce development. This is made available over a two year period for the duration of the programme and is paid in Two instalments to the employer.

An enhanced financial support package is also available for trainee Nursing Associates who will spend a minimum of 50% of their time working in a Learning Disabilities setting.

Next steps
  • Consider whether your organisation would benefit from a trainee Nursing Associate (TNA) and if you are able to employ and support them through the programme

  • Find a suitable applicant(s) by internally discussing whether your organisation wants to focus on internal applicants or is open to external recruitment.

  • Contact your local Training Hub for support or alternatively for further information about recruiting and employing a trainee Nursing Associate, please email Wendy Majewska on:


SWL Nursing Associate Team

Wendy Majewska, SWL ICS TNA Lead

Lewis Daines, SWL Training Hub Practice Educator

Nicola Lakic, Croydon NA/TNA Lead and Practice Educator


SWL ICS holds monthly webinars for anyone interested in finding out more about employing a TNA, a Registered NA or training as a Nursing Associate. This is open to health and social care and also to employers and those who may be interested in becoming a Nursing Associate. We can also offer individual support if helpful

Registered Nursing Associates Working in Primary Care

Download the 'Registered Nursing Associates Working in Primary Care' guidance brochure.

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View and Download the 'Nursing Associates Preceptorship' guidance brochure.

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