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Nursing associate is a new role within the nursing team that helps bridge the gap between Healthcare Assistants and Registered Nurses.

Nursing associates work with people of all ages, in a variety of settings in health and social care. The role contributes to the core work of nursing, freeing up registered nurses to focus on more complex clinical care. It is a stand-alone role that also provides a progression route into graduate level nursing.

Working life

The nursing associate is a new support role in England that bridges the gap between healthcare support workers and registered nurses to deliver hands-on, person-centred care as part of the nursing team. Nursing associates work with people of all ages in a variety of settings in health and social care. 

Why become a nursing associate?

  • You’re passionate about caring for other people

  • You’ve considered a career in nursing; this is a great way to start

  • You would like to have the option of working in variety of settings within health and social care

What is a nursing associate?

Nursing Associates work as a vital part of the wider nursing team and help to bridge care between Healthcare Support Workers and Registered Nurses. The fundamental focus of the role is to deliver care for patients and the public. Typical tasks performed by NAs include:

  • providing personal care to patients of all genders

  • performing and recording clinical observations such as taking people’s blood pressure, temperature, and pulses

  • undertaking clinical tasks like venepuncture and undertaking wound dressings

  • supporting patients, their families, and carers when faced with unwelcome news and life-changing diagnoses

  • discussing and sharing information with registered nurses on a patients’ condition, behaviour, activity, and responses

  • ensuring the privacy, dignity and safety of individuals

  • recognising issues relating to safeguarding vulnerable children and adults

Nursing Associates work in many different health and care settings, including hospitals, care homes, learning disabilities, general practice and in the community.

How to train as a nursing associate?

One of the most popular ways to train as a nursing associate is to complete a two-year-long, full time (37.5hrs/week) Nursing Associate apprenticeship programme combined with a Foundation Degree. This includes a mixture of hands-on experience within the workplace, supported by some learning in the classroom.

If you choose to work in the boroughs of Barnet, Enfield, Haringey, Camden or Islington, the apprenticeship and training is run by Middlesex University whilst recruitment onto the programme is coordinated by the North Central London Training Hub.

CPD and career development 

Like with nurses and other healthcare professionals, nursing associates can expand their knowledge and skills with the right training and governance. The intention is for nursing associates to support, not substitute, registered nurses. 

Once you complete the training programme, you will have access to a broad CPD offer.  

Examples of training that can be undertaken:

  • Vaccination and immunisation training 

Vaccination and immunisation training can be undertaken as a HCA, TNA or NA. Injection technique is included in clinical skills. HCAs/TNAs must always work under a Patient Specific Directive (PSD). NAs must also work under PSDs or national protocol where applicable.

  • Long term conditions

Training can be undertaken for Long Term Conditions (LTC) such as Asthma, COPD and Diabetes to allow the TNA/NA to complete long term condition reviews with varying levels of supervision where needed.

  • Cervical cytology training and vaginal examinations

Cervical cytology training can be accessed as an NA once registered with the NMC.

Other examples of training include:

  • Phlebotomy

  • Physical health checks

  • Contraceptive reviews

  • Wound care

  • Vaccination and immunisation

From nursing associate to registered nurse

Nursing Associates interested in training as registered nurses have two pathways available:

  1. Apply directly to the university and pay the fees.

  2. Agree with the employer to do an apprenticeship top-up training in which the employer pays the salary for a Nursing Associate role while releasing the learner to do the course and accesses the Government Apprenticeship Levy (via levy transfer) to pay the university fees.

If employed in general practice, funding for their salary can also be drawn down via the local Primary Care Network through the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS).

Read more about the funding available here.

There are a number of courses available to top-up from RNA to RN including:

Following completion of their Nurse Training learners may need to undertake additional training (for example a GPN course that includes content such as a long-term conditions, sexual health, minor illness, and independent / supplementary nurse prescribing). 

For employers

Go to for a full guide on hiring TNAs in North Central London.

We are now recruiting employers interested in hiring TNAs as part of a programme cohort starting in October 2023.

North Central London Trainee Nursing Associate Programme

Watch a series of short films to find out more about the unique North Central London Trainee Nursing Associate Programme and to view case studies on how the role was implemented across Acute Trust, Primary Care, and Adult Social Care organisations.

Current Vacancies

Vacancies will be published here as and when they are available.

Comparison of Nursing Associates and Nurses