Nursing Associate is a newly created role in the NHS where, under the instruction of qualified Nurses, you will work alongside Care Assistants looking after people who are ill or injured. You'll give medicines and injections to patients, clean and dress wounds, and help to monitor the patient's vital signs.
As a Nursing Associate, you will gain the knowledge and experience you need by working alongside Care Assistants, under the instruction of a qualified Nurse. You will also study in order to gain a healthcare foundation degree, which will lead onto a shortened nursing degree.
You will work in hospitals, looking after people who are ill or injured. This will include giving medicines and injections to patients, cleaning and dressing wounds, and helping to monitor the patient's vital signs.
You will be able to specialise as either a:
- Adult Nursing Associate
- Children's Nursing Associate
- Mental Health Nursing Associate
Whichever area you choose to specialise in, your focus will always be on the overall wellbeing of the person you are caring for, not simply their reason for needing medical care. This means that you will have to think about and plan how to meet all the individual's care needs, including their emotional needs, and take into account any social or personal problems they might have.
You must listen and talk to the patient, answering questions and dealing with any anxiety or concerns the patient might have. You might also talk to the patient's family or carers, updating them on the patient's progress or explaining treatment.
Other care duties which you might perform include making beds and helping the patient to eat, wash and dress.
Many types of nursing rely on sophisticated technology, such as life-saving and monitoring equipment. You may have to control or monitor various types of equipment.
This career is very new in England. They are not available in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
To become a Nursing Associate, you'll need:
- a friendly, caring nature to build relationships with the patients
- tact and sensitivity
- the ability to treat each patient as an individual
- strong observation skills to read the signs that a patient's condition is changing
- to be able to keep up with new procedures and treatments
- the ability to listen to patients and their families, reassure them and explain things clearly
- practical skills and the ability to use various types of equipment
- physical fitness (in most areas of nursing, you'll be on your feet a lot)
- number skills, for example, to take body measurements such as blood pressure
- patience and tolerance to cope with demanding situations
- emotional strength to deal with distressing situations
- the ability to follow health and safety procedures
- effective teamwork skills
Pay and Opportunities
NHS employees are paid on a rising scale within defined pay bands, according to your skills and responsibilities.
- Starting - Band 3: £18,813 - £20,795
Hours of work
It is expected that you will work 37.5 hours a week. Shift work is usual. Some employers offer flexitime working, and overtime is common.
Where could I work?
At the moment this role is only available within the NHS. It is expected that opportunities will be available in towns, cities and rural areas throughout the UK.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, on recruitment and employers' websites, and on Find a Job (www.gov.uk/jobsearch).
Social media websites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, are a great way to network, find vacancies and get in contact with possible employers. Make sure that your profile presents you in a professional manner that will appeal to potential employers.
Take a look at our General Information Article
Entry Routes and Training
To begin your training as a Nursing Associate, you’ll need GCSEs grade 9-4 (A*-C) in maths and English, or key skills level 2 in maths and English.
To enter this career, you will be academic learning one day a week and work-based learning the rest of the week.
You will need to demonstrate that you can study to level 5 foundation degree level, and commit to completing the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship programme.
Qualified Nursing Associates will be required to work to a nationally recognised code of conduct.
This career is all about progression. The role has been designed to provide people with an alternative entry into becoming a fully qualified Nurse. It is expected that you will eventually complete your Nursing degree and progress to become a fully qualified Nurse.
Previous experience of working in care enviroment will help you to get into this career - this could include working in a care home, nursery, or maybe caring for a relative or friend
Rehabilitation of Offenders Act
This career is an exception to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This means that you must supply information to an employer about any spent or unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings, if they ask you to. This is different from other careers, where you only have to reveal information on unspent convictions if you are asked to.
In order to study for a level 5 qualification, employers may ask for at least 2 A levels. They may also ask for GCSE grade C/4 or above in English and maths.
Entry can also be possible with alternative level 3 qualifications such as:
- City & Guilds
- Cambridge Technicals
- the International Baccalaureate Diploma
Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.
It is illegal for organisations to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
Experience of working in care enviroment will help you to get into this career - this could include working in a care home, nursery, or maybe caring for a relative or friend.
NHS Wales Careers
Publisher: National Leadership and Innovation Agency for Healthcare
Skills for Health
Skills for the health sector
Address: Goldsmiths House, Broad Plain, Bristol BS2 0JP
Tel: 0117 9221155
NHS Education for Scotland (NES)
Address: Westport 102, West Port, Edinburgh EH3 9DN
Tel: 0131 6563200
Royal College of Nursing (RCN)
Address: 20 Cavendish Square, London W1G 0RN
Tel: 0345 7726100
Nursing and Midwifery Council
Address: 23 Portland Place, Marylebone, City of Westminster, London W1B
Tel: 020 7637 7181
Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland
Address: 42 South Oswald Road, Edinburgh EH9 2HH
Tel: 0345 7726100
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland
Address: 18-20 Carysfort Avenue, Blackrock, County Dublin
Tel: 01 6398500
People Exchange Cymru (PEC)
Public sector recruitment portal for Wales