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The nursing associate role provides care for people in health and social care settings. The role has been developed to bridge the skills gap between care workers and registered nurses in England.

A nursing associate contributes to the core work of nursing which enables registered nurses to focus on more complex care needs, leadership and management.

All nursing associates are educated at foundation degree level 5, and once qualified register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council who regulate all nurses, midwives and nursing associates in England. Nursing associates are standalone regulated roles and fully accountable for their practice and work to a different standard of proficiency to registered nurses.

Once registered, nursing associates undertake continuous professional development (CPD) to meet revalidation requirements and support their scope of practice which may mean extending the role to meet the needs of your working environment.

Duration 4min 32 secs


Transcript for this video

Duration 25 mins


Guidance on the deployment of nursing associates

This guidance aims to support employers, commissioners, nursing associates, and system colleagues to:

  • have a clear understanding of the nursing associates role and what to consider when developing the role in different social care settings
  • consider and encourage review or creation of a detailed workforce plan
  • consider integrated services and partnerships in a long term plan
  • be introduced to key regulations and a range of suggestions to consider when implementing this role in a social care setting.
PDF - 833Kb

Designed to assist employers and commissioners in understanding how nursing associates may be deployed. See how nursing associates are working in different settings and how the scope of practice can differ depending on the team and situation.





Employing nursing associates

If you're interested in understanding more about the nursing associate role in social care our deployment guide may be useful to you.

PDF - 833Kb

Learn about the role and how it and add value to the quality of care. Hear how registered nursing associates are working in different social care settings and how the scope of practice can differ depending on the team and situation.



Routes to nursing associate qualification


Employers could consider an apprenticeship programme to support the development of  nursing associate roles. This is a great opportunity to offer career progression for existing staff as well as an attractive recruitment offer for motivated individuals to join social care teams.

An apprenticeship is a work-based programme where the student is an employee (existing or new). The student is working during the education period as a student nursing associate. There will be mandatory learning days and placements in different areas to meet the programme requirements.

View the apprenticeship levy for more information.

Duration 40

Direct entry route

Universities are offering the pre-registration nursing associate programme as a direct entry option. In this case the student nursing associate is a student at the university, not an employee. Fees for the programme will be charged to the student. 

As a social care employer, you can get involved with the new role by offering placement opportunities for pre-registration nursing associates, speak to your local university and ICB to see what support is on offer. 

View our Developing nursing placement opportunities in social care guidance.

For additional funding information please contact your regional lead from NHS England:

I did the nursing associate course because I have a passion for caring for people along with gaining transferable skills to help myself grow within social care.

Nursing associate


Get in touch

Learn more about the nursing associate role by emailing any queries to socialcarenursing@skillsforcare.org.uk


Nursing associate

Take a look at the different job roles and paths people are taking to start and develop their nursing careers in adult social care.

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