Health and Care leaders mark 1,000th nursing associate milestone

7 June 2019

It’s official – more than 1,000 people are now registered as qualified nursing associates less than six months since this new professional role joined the health and care workforce in England, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), Health Education England (HEE) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) are celebrating today.

This England-only role bridges the gap between healthcare assistants and registered nurses, offering new career opportunities to thousands of professionals, and contributing to the delivery of better, safer care for people across the country in a variety of health and social care settings

As today’s figures show, the nursing associate role has proved itself to be a popular opportunity for people wanting to choose or further their health and care career.

The role, which widens access to health and care jobs by opening up new training routes, was announced by the Government in 2016, developed by HEE and is regulated by the NMC.

7,000 students have begun training since the role was agreed in January 2017, and HEE aims to more than double that and recruit a further 7,500 in 2019 as the programme continues to expand.

The new workstream forms a vital strand in plans to increase the NHS workforce announced on Monday (June 3) as part of the NHS Interim People Plan.

Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Executive and Registrar at the NMC, said:

“I’m thrilled to celebrate this 1000th milestone – at a time when the contribution of all nursing and midwifery professionals is so vital in meeting the needs of people who rely and depend on great health and care services.

“Having had the pleasure of meeting many nursing associates, and students, across the country so far, I know how incredibly proud they are of their ability to make a difference for people – and I love seeing their dedication and enthusiasm for providing truly, holistic care.

“As trainees finish their courses I look forward to seeing more nursing associates joining the register and this wonderful new group of staff continue to grow, and be supported in their work, long into the future.”

Professor Ian Cumming OBE, Chief Executive, Health Education England said:

“We are delighted to have reached this significant milestone, with hundreds more nursing associates set to join the register in the coming weeks.
“This shows the continuing appetite for this exciting new profession, developed by HEE, which not only strengthens patient care, but provides a wealth of new opportunities for our much-valued health and care workers.”

Health Minister, Stephen Hammond said:

"I'm delighted that so many nursing associates are now helping people and patients across the country and I hope to see thousands more join the health and care system in the coming years.

“Nursing associates have a crucial and unique role to play in delivering the NHS Long Term Plan by providing excellent, safe care to people and patients, and allowing nurses to focus on more specialised areas of treatment.

“That 1,000 nursing associates have now registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council represents a significant milestone for this burgeoning workforce and our decision to make this role a regulated profession is recognition of the huge contribution they make to people and patients across healthcare settings.”

Nicola Leach, who has worked as a nursing associate at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital since February this year, said:

“I was a senior healthcare assistant for six years, but I could only get so far with it. I was having to pass jobs up because I wasn’t qualified, so thought, I have to do something about this.

“My ultimate goal has been to become a registered nurse, but I was juggling two sons, 14 and 16.

“This was a great way to up my skills without having any financial pressures.

“I love looking after people and I just wanted to do more. The nursing associate role gives you freedom. I love the extra care and responsibility.

“It’s about giving back, and promoting everything the NHS stands for, while doing something I enjoy.

“I also enjoy promoting the role and inspiring others to follow in my footsteps. It’s been a huge rollercoaster - but it’s been so rewarding.

“I love my job. I am now training to be a registered nurse, for me this role has been a stepping stone to something I never thought I’d have the opportunity to do."



Further background:

1. As at 31 May 2019, 1,006 nursing associates were part of the NMC register.
2. Find out more about the nursing associate role
3. Read more of our nursing associate case studies  
4. Read more about HEE 

Notes for editors

  1. For media enquiries, please contact NMC press office on 020 7681 5415 or email ​
  2. Follow the NMC on Twitter @nmcnews
  3. We are the independent regulator for nurses, midwives and nursing associates. We hold a register of all the 690,000 nurses, midwives and nursing associates who can practise in the UK. Better and safer care for people is at the heart of what we do, supporting the healthcare professionals on our register to deliver the highest standards of care. We make sure nurses, midwives and nursing associate have the skills they need to care for people safely, with integrity, expertise, respect and compassion, from the moment they step into their first job.
  4. Learning does not stop the day nurses, midwives and nursing associates qualify. To promote safety and public trust, we require professionals to demonstrate throughout their career that they are committed to learning and developing to keep their skills up to date and improve as practitioners. We want to encourage openness and learning among healthcare professions to improve care and keep the public safe. On the occasions when something goes wrong and people are at risk, we can step in to investigate and take action, giving the people affected and their families a voice as we do so.