What is a nursing associate?

A nursing associate is a member of the nursing team in England that helps bridge the gap between health and care assistants and registered nurses.

Nursing associates work with people of all ages, in a variety of settings in health and social care. The role contributes to the core work of nursing, freeing up registered nurses to focus on more complex clinical care.

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

What to expect from your nursing associate

We've set the standards for nursing and nursing associate programmes. These set out what a nursing associate should know and be able to do when they join our register.

This makes sure that everyone entering the profession has the skills they need to care for people safely, with integrity, expertise, respect and compassion from the moment they start their first job.

Like with nurses and other healthcare professionals, nursing associates can expand their knowledge and skills with the right training and governance. The intention is for nursing associates to support, not substitute, registered nurses.

We've made a short animation to help you understand what you can expect from your nursing associates.

How we regulate nursing associates

The part of our register for nursing associates opened in January 2019.

This has allowed us to begin accepting people onto the register to enable them to practise as a nursing associate in England. It also allows us to investigate concerns about a registered nursing associate's conduct or practice, where this is considered impaired and take action to improve care and keep the public safe if needed.

To do this, we set the following standards:

Information for employers

We regulate nursing associates in broadly the same way we regulate nurses and midwives, which includes registration, revalidation and fitness to practise.

Employing more highly educated and skilled staff should enable better use of registered nurse resources.

Find out more information about employing nursing associates.

Information for educators

Running a nursing associate education programme

As of the 26 July 2019, new students can only start their training on a nursing associate programme that we've approved.

We use our quality assurance framework to approve nursing associate programmes. Find out more about how we approve education programmes.

Nursing associate apprenticeships

The nursing associate apprenticeship standard is available to employers and the apprenticeship levy can be used for training fees. The standard requires nursing associate apprenticeships to be delivered by an NMC-approved AEI for pre-registration nursing.

Guidance for the registration of nursing associates who began their training pre July 2019.

We've created a selection of case studies about nursing associates experiences.

Explore our nursing associate case studies.