Our standards of proficiency for nursing associates were approved by our Council at its meeting on 26 September 2018. 

They set out the minimum standard of what nursing associates need to know and can do when they join our register. 

On 30 April 2024, we made minor updates to the language, structure, and layout of our standards of proficiency. We haven’t included any new content or additional regulatory expectations. The changes ensure that both our programme and proficiency standards are presented consistently in our new visual identity, and improve their readability and overall accessibility. 

What do our standards do?

We developed the standards of proficiency for nursing associates to apply across all health and care settings. These standards serve a number of different purposes

  • Help nursing associates by providing clarity about their role. 
  • Providing clarity on what knowledge and skills other health and care professionals can reasonably expect from nursing associates. 
  • Allow education institutions to develop and deliver programmes that give students the skills, knowledge and behaviours to meet these standards when they qualify. 

How to read our standards

The standards for nursing associates are grouped under six platforms, which are important to understand because they:

  • represent the knowledge, skills and attributes that all registered nursing associates must demonstrate when caring for people of all ages and across all health and care settings
  • reflect what the public can expect nursing associates to know and be able to do in order to deliver safe, compassionate and effective care
  • provide a benchmark for those who plan to return to practice after a period of absence

The six platforms

  • Being an accountable professional
  • Promoting health and preventing ill health
  • Provide and monitor care
  • Working in teams
  • Improving safety and quality of care
  • Contributing to integrated care

You should read these standards and our Standards of proficiency for registered nurses. These standards were both designed to align with one another because:

  • It allows people to understand the differences between the two roles.
  • So education providers can facilitate educational progress from nursing associate to nurse.
  • To demonstrate how nursing associates can support nurses deliver their own standards of proficiency.

How our standards work together

Using our standards

It's also important to read these standards along with the other parts of Realising professionalism: Standards for education and training:

Reading these together, will give you a complete picture of:

  • what nursing associates need to know and be able to do, by the time they register with us
  • our expectations of what approved education institutions (AEIs) and their practice learning partners must do for delivering NMC-approved programmes for nurses, midwives and nursing associates.

Using our standards to plan your CPD

Our standards of proficiency can be a key resource when planning CPD as part of your revalidation.

You can use our standards in your revalidation in the following ways:

  • Use them to consider what knowledge and skills you need to practise safely.
  • Use them to reflect on your practice and identify any further learning.
  • Use them to help you plan your CPD as part of revalidation.

Implementation of the standards of proficiency for registered nursing associates

The following information and resources are aimed to help you put our standards of proficiency for registered nursing associates into practice.

Downloadable resources


Blog: Role differences between nursing associates and nurses