• 27 April 2021
  • 4 min read

Could Nursing Associate Programmes Become A Primary Stepping-Stone For Nursing Students?

  • Matt Farrah
    Co-Founder
    • Richard Gill
    • Mat Martin
    • Aubrey Hollebon
    • Laura Bosworth
    • Portia Chaloner
  • 4
  • 797
Could the Nursing Associate role become a major route into nursing?

The NMC recently gave a further education (FE) college in England permission to run a Nursing Associate programme independent of university affiliation. This is the first time the NMC has approved a course of this nature to be run solely by an FE college.

Since becoming the legal regulator for Nursing Associates in July 2018, and with the role of Nursing Associate being formalised in 2019, NMC approved institutions have trained 4100 Nursing Associates in England, as of Feb 2021.

The NMC has just approved a further education college to run a Nursing Associate course. South Devon College is the first FE College to be approved to run NMC approved Nursing Associate training.

Do you think other colleges will follow South Devon in applying to independently run Nursing Associate programmes? Comment 💬 Like ❤️ Reply 🙂 below.

The Nursing Associate role was designed to bridge the gap between unregulated Healthcare Assistants and Registered Nurses.

It is a stand-alone role that also provides a progression route into graduate level nursing.

As the role grows in popularity, do you think the numbers of people coming into nursing via the Nursing Associate route will translate in due course to an increase in the number of Registered Nurses?

Students enrolled on the Nursing Associate programme split their time between academic study, hospital, and community placements. This helps develop the necessary skills to work within the NHS or other healthcare settings.

In total, trainees must undertake 2,300 programme hours to qualify.

After completing the 2-year programme, the Nursing Associate will have a foundation degree, and can become a fully registered Nursing Associate with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

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What do YOU think?

Let me know your thoughts in the Comments & click Like!

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Do you think the greater flexibility of the Nursing Associate programme would encourage people who for whatever reason would be discouraged or unable to undertake a 3-year registered nurse programme?

The NMC has seen an increase in popularity of the Nursing Associate programme over its lifetime. A number of FE colleges have partnered with universities to deliver the programme, where the university provides the award.

This is the first time the NMC has approved a FE college to run this type of course in its own right, however.

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What do YOU think?

Let me know your thoughts in the Comments & click Like!

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Is there scope here for higher and further education colleges to further expand and refine their course offerings to meet the ever-changing demands of the health service?

Applications to nursing courses since the Covid-19 pandemic increased by 32% in the last year, with more than 60,000 people expressing an interest in nursing as a career.

A predicted 3.2 million new healthcare jobs will be created in the next eight years.

Do you anticipate that of the total numbers of healthcare and nursing staff, Nursing Associates will constitute a growing proportion of those employed?

Please let us know what you think in the comments, and Like the article if you found it interesting.

Thanks.

About the author

  • Matt Farrah
    Co-Founder

I studied English before moving into publishing in the mid 90s. I co-founded Nurses.co.uk and our other three sites in 2008. I wanted to provide a platform that gives a voice to those working in health and social care. I'm fascinated, generally, by the career choices we all make. But I'm especially interested in the stories told by those who choose to spend their life supporting others. They are mostly positive and life-affirming stories, despite the considerable challenges and burdens faced.

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  • Matt Farrah
    Co-Founder

About the author

  • Matt Farrah
    Co-Founder

I studied English before moving into publishing in the mid 90s. I co-founded Nurses.co.uk and our other three sites in 2008. I wanted to provide a platform that gives a voice to those working in health and social care. I'm fascinated, generally, by the career choices we all make. But I'm especially interested in the stories told by those who choose to spend their life supporting others. They are mostly positive and life-affirming stories, despite the considerable challenges and burdens faced.

  • 4 Comments
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    • Valerie Falzon one month ago
      Valerie Falzon
    • Valerie Falzon
      one month ago

      Everything seems to comeback in one full circle. First the Enrolled Nurse role got removed now it is coming back ... read more

      • Hah, yep, it does feel like that. In all my conversations about Nursing Degrees over the years with nurses the common opinion seems to back a mix: that is, that not all nurses should have to go throug... read more

        Hah, yep, it does feel like that. In all my conversations about Nursing Degrees over the years with nurses the common opinion seems to back a mix: that is, that not all nurses should have to go through an academic process. Which does make sense if you consider the most prevalent nursing skills of empathy, communication, work ethic, listening etc. Add in also that people simply learn differently and it does make sense to consider a more apprentice-based route to nursing once again(in addition to a formal education route).
        read less

        Replied by: Matt Farrah

        I fully expected to be shot down in flames. My views have not been popular. I also object to specialist nurses in offices running clinics once run by junior/reg level doctors. Taking skills away from ... read more

        I fully expected to be shot down in flames. My views have not been popular. I also object to specialist nurses in offices running clinics once run by junior/reg level doctors. Taking skills away from the already depleted wards. Almost as if they are running away from ‘real’ nursing. If they have a degree and want to Perdue this line of care - GO TO MEDICAL SCHOOL! If they stayed on the wards and shared their knowledge and passion! I did a year getting an orthopaedic qualification. While on the ward driving up standards. My knowledge base broad. Now the Ortho course gained in university and wards of the hospital working at and ‘day release’. Hardly a skilled practitioner on gaining the qualification. Back to the NA route to RN. Why is there such resistance to apprentice style, paid, balanced training? We are desperate for staff. It will take decades to return to pre P2K staffing levels even if we return to ward based learning. My fear is we have gone too far. I have seen my imported staff dilute the bedside care telling students that’s what HCAs are for! I would encourage staff to engage more with patients by letting them see I did. I hear students say they feel they would like a closer relationship like I had in the 70’s and 80’s but I don’t see it happen. Until nurses come out of university and back into hospital ‘academies’ if school doesn’t sound posh enough. 5 GCSE’s pay and support will encourage those we need into training to degree level. Those with A levels can go and be real Doctors! There is nothing a degree gives I can’t be taught to do. I have so many soap boxes. I will be an awful patient!
        read less

        Replied by: Suzanne Loveridge
    • Portia Chaloner one month ago
      Portia Chaloner
    • Portia Chaloner
      one month ago

      This New Programme will enhance the Current Standard that is in use today.The Enrolled Nurse Programme was the Best Practical ... read more

    • Suzanne Loveridge one month ago
      Suzanne Loveridge
    • Suzanne Loveridge
      one month ago

      Nursing associate role- reinvented SEN thrown in the scrap heap late 80’s. Current degree route a road to obscene debt. ... read more

      • Thanks Suzanne. Clearly a well-thought-through analysis based on experience.

        Replied by: Matt Farrah

        I couldn't have said it any better

        Replied by: Valerie Falzon

        Suzanne, would you like to write an article about this? We'd be happy to publish it(and pay you for your efforts too). Contact me via the contact page here on https:// /contact-us/

        Replied by: Matt Farrah

        I should've known it wouldn't publish the web address. Scroll to the footer of the page, click on Contact us and your email will eventually reach me.

        Replied by: Matt Farrah
      • Show all replies
    • Thomas Boyle one month ago
      Thomas Boyle
    • Thomas Boyle
      one month ago

      i stated this a few years ago when the RCN congress was in Glasgow and discussed the associate nurse role. ... read more