Employing nursing associates

The nursing associate role is currently regulated in England only. We're opening the nursing associate part of our register on 28 January 2019. 

Nursing associates will be subject to the full suite of regulation, in broadly the same way 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.

Other organisations will be developing tools and resources to support you in implementing this new role.

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.

Nursing associates, like other regulated professionals, can also undertake further training and learn additional skills throughout their careers.

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.

Once the nursing associate part of our register opens on 28 January 2019, it’ll be 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 nursing associate apprenticeship standard has been approved and is now available for use. It’s currently based on the Health Education England's (HEE) Curriculum Framework but will be shortly updated to reflect our standards. Programmes that meet this standard can be funded via the apprenticeship levy.

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.

We encourage you to join an existing pilot site, or establish a new pilot site, under HEE’s oversight. 

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.