Information for educators

Educating nursing associates

The Department of Health is changing our legislation to give us the power to regulate nursing associates – we expect this to happen in July 2018.

We can’t set standards of proficiency for nursing associates or approve programmes before our legislation changes. But we’re already engaging with our stakeholders to develop the standards, education requirements and to review the suitability of our Code for nursing associates. This means we’ll be able to act quickly once our legislation changes.

Getting involved in nursing associate education and training

There are 35 test sites currently training the first 2,000 nursing associates. They’ve developed their training programmes based on the Health Education England (HEE) curriculum framework.

In October 2017 the Secretary of State announced that there will be a further 5,000 nursing associates training in 2018, and 7,500 in 2019. Further details about how to get involved in training these additional nursing associates will be available here soon.

Managing the registration of the first trainees

The first people to apply to the new nursing associate part of our register will have trained before we have approved nursing associate programmes. The Department of Health consultation on changes to our legislation provides us with some powers within which to manage these applications. HEE has agreed to quality assure test site programmes to help inform our decisions about whether they are comparable to qualifications from NMC approved programmes. We’re asking test site education providers to assess trainees against our standards of proficiency when they are finalised, and to confirm trainees have had access to the required learning hours and breadth of experiences.

We’re likely to take a similar approach to those training as nursing associates in 2018 as we have for the first group of trainees, while in 2019 – subject to parliamentary time – we’ll be the regulator and can approve nursing associate programmes.

Nursing associate apprenticeships

The nursing associate apprenticeship standard, which has been approved and is available for use, can be funded by employers via the apprenticeship levy and offer a work-based training route. It’s based on the HEE curriculum at the current time but when we are the regulator of nursing associates, the standard will be changed to reflect our standards and education requirements.

Until we approve nursing associate programmes, apprenticeships must be delivered by an NMC approved education institution for pre-registration nursing.

Preparing for approvals

Once we’re the regulator in law, we can approve nursing associate programmes. This is likely to be from Autumn 2018.

If you are already an NMC approved education institution, you may be thinking about whether you want to seek a single approval event for your nursing associate programme and your nursing programme under the new nursing proficiencies.

If you are not currently an NMC approved education institution you will be thinking about that as a first step towards securing approval for NA programmes.

You can read more about our plans for approvals and quality assurance on our website in 2018.