What are Nurse Associates?

What are Nurse Associates?

Learn More on Nurse Associates Role

A nursing associate is one of the most recent roles in the nursing profession. Nursing associates work together with registered nurses and healthcare support to care for patients or general public visiting healthcare facilities.  A nurse associate (NA) role began in England with the intention of bridging the gap between registered and other health care support personnel.


Working Life of Nurse Associates

Nursing associates work in the four core fields of nursing:

  • Adult
  • Pediatric
  • Mental health
  • Learning disability

The skills and responsibilities vary according to the care setting that everyone works. An NA should demonstrate the values and behavior of the NHS constitution. It is a position that also requires knowledge of physical and mental health. A nurse associate should also be knowledgeable in illness prevention.

Nursing associates do not have the legal mandate to give medicine under patient group directions agreements (PGDs). These are the agreements that allow staff members to administer medication to patients without a prescription. The senior nurses who will supervise the NAs have insisted as much regarding medication.

Likely duties

The duties of a nurse associate include:

  • Performing clinical observations such as temperature, respiration, pulse, etc. and recording outcomes
  • Supporting patients and their families or caregivers when they face unwelcome information or life-changing diagnoses.
  • Participating in clinical tasks that include venepuncture, cannulation, and ECGs.
  • Sharing and discussing information on the condition, response, behavior, and activity of a patient with registered nurses
  • Ensure maintenance of safety, privacy, and dignity of patients at all times
  • Identifying issues relating to the safeguarding of vulnerable patients

Entry Requirements for Nurse Associates Training

A nurse associate should be a person who has undergone basic training in nursing. An applicant to the program should have a grade 9 to 4(A-C) grade in mathematics and English in the GCSE exam. Alternatively, the candidate can have key skills level 2 in both subjects. Successful candidates must also demonstrate an ability to study a level 5 foundation degree and commit to complete this nursing apprenticeship program.

Training and development

Anybody who joins the nursing associate apprentice program agrees to undertake to attend academic learning once a week and work-based learning for other days of the weeks. Employment is at a specific healthcare setting. It can be mental, community or acute health hospital. After some time the NA will move to other care and situational setting to diversify experience. Working in mixed shifts and traveling to commitment is a part of an apprenticeship to expose the participants to varying environments.

The duration of nursing associate training is two years full time. It is generic, but not field specified to allow learners to cover all the four basic fields of nursing. Work-based learning takes 80%.

A significant factor for nurse associates is to plan and manage competing demands of the placements, study and job roles.

Trainees should develop an understanding of elements in the nursing process and proper care for individuals with special conditions. These include learning disabilities, mental ill health, and dementia. Nursing associates qualify to work after completing their training. A successful trainee must exhibit understanding and skills to care for patients. They must also show behavior and attitude to work as a nursing associate in association with other healthcare professionals.

Qualified nursing associates can train to become registered nurses by joining a by enrolling for an accelerated nursing degree program.

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