We regulate nursing associates in broadly the same way that we regulate nurses and midwives. This includes registration, revalidation and fitness to practise.
Our Council has agreed that nursing associates should meet the same standards of behaviour and conduct as nurses and midwives, so we've made some minor updates to the existing Code.
Resources for employers
- NHS Improvement safe, sustainable and productive staffing improvement resource for the deployment of nursing associates in secondary care
- NHS Employers guide to nursing associates
- CQC briefing for providers: Nursing associates
- Health Education England nursing associate resources
Standards for nursing associates
The nursing associate standards of proficiency set out what all nursing associates will know and be able to do when they join our register.
Like the other professionals on our register, nursing associates can also complete further training and learn extra skills throughout their careers after they join our register.
Nurse leaders in England have been clear that the intention is for nursing associates to support and not substitute for nurses. Having more highly educated and skilled support staff should enable better use to be made of graduate nurse resources.
Protected title ‘nursing associate’
'Nursing associate' is a protected title in law.
It's an offence in England to practise as a nursing associate without being registered as one with us, or to falsely claim to be qualified or registered.
Employers are strongly advised not to recruit people to ‘nursing associate’ posts who will not be able to practise as nursing associates once the title is protected, or to advertise posts as ‘nursing associate’ posts if they are not going to be filled by qualified and registered nursing associates.
Nursing associate apprenticeships
The current nursing associate apprentice standard requires nursing associate apprenticeships to be delivered by an NMC-approved approved education institution (AEI) for pre-registration nursing.
Find out more information about nursing associate pilot sites on the Health Education England website.
Employers involved in current pilot sites
If you’re an employer involved in a current pilot site, your students may soon be graduating and applying to register with us.
We must assess the comparability of the qualification of every pre-regulation student’s application to join the register. If their qualification is deemed comparable, they can apply to register as if they have an NMC-approved qualification.
If we cannot deem their qualification comparable, the student will have the right to sit a test of competence in order to be eligible to register.