Nursing Associates

An introduction to the newest member of the nursing family!

Since 2017, the Nursing Associate (NA) role has existed within the nursing team in England. The role bridges the gap between the Healthcare Support Worker/care assistant and a fully qualified Registered Nurse.

NA’s are able to deliver hands-on, person-centred care for people of all ages within health and social care organisations. The trainee Nursing Associate (TNA) will support and take direction from the Registered Nurse and can work in a variety of health and social care environments, including acute, social care, community and primary care settings.



Health Careers advises that typical duties of a Nursing Associate are likely to include:

  • Undertaking clinical tasks including cannulation, venepuncture and ECGs
  • Supporting individuals, their families and carers when faced with unwelcome news and life-changing diagnoses
  • Performing and recording clinical observations such as blood pressure, temperature, respirations and pulse
  • Discussing and sharing information with Registered Nurses on a patients’ or residents’ condition, behaviour, activity and responses
  • Ensuring the privacy, dignity and safety of individuals is maintained at all times
  • Recognising issues relating to safeguarding children and adults at risk

Note: Skills and responsibilities will vary, depending on the care setting the Nursing Associate is working in. 

The possibilities don’t end there – through further training, qualified Nursing Associates can also go on to achieve a future career as a Registered Nurse. All related courses are regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and the role of the Nursing Associate is now recognised as a status protected professional title.



More about the Nursing Associate role 

Entry requirements

As this is an entry level post, applicants do not need to have direct health or social care experience. However, anyone interested in becoming a Nursing Associate will need to have both of the following:

  • A minimum of Functional Skills Level 2 in Maths and English or GCSE passes in Maths and English (grade A-C or 9-4 ) – check out the Functional skills flyer and HASO’s (Healthcare Apprenticeship Standards Online) Functional Skills Toolkit within our ‘Support and useful resources section’ for further information
  • In order to receive apprenticeship funding, the learner needs a contractual agreement in place which states that the applicant will work a minimum of 30 hours a week*

*Note: Some university training providers require trainees to be on a 37.5 hour a week contract – please check with your chosen university provider.

If you’re already employed as a health or care professional, you should speak to your employer or line manager and ask for advice on the training options available to you.



Salary guidance for trainee Nursing Associates

NHS Employers recommend that trainee Nursing Associates are employed at Agenda for Change pay band 3, moving to Agenda for Change pay band 4 on recruitment to a Nursing Associate role.

If you’re employed in the Primary or social care sectors, you will need to get confirmation of your salary from your employer.

Further details are available on the Health careers site.


Benefits of the role to organisations

The role of the Nursing Associate is one that is hugely beneficial for organisations that provide health and social care. Here are just some of the reasons why:

  • Increases an organisation’s capacity to deal with the clinical needs of both patients and residents
  • Acts as a key part of a cost-effective nursing team who can work together within the care plan to maximise skill sets
  • Supports staff retention by promoting career progression within your organisation
  • Helps attracts good quality staff to your organisation by offering career progression and workforce development. The role can also be a route to degree level nursing
  • A cost effective way to develop staff – apprenticeship training costs can be fully funded. Employers also receive £8,300 financial support from Health Education England*

* HEE have advised that this financial support package is accessible to employers up until March 2020 (the trainee must have started their programme before the end of March 2020).


Educational establishments that run a Nursing Associate course

As of July 2019, only NMC approved providers can deliver the programme. There are a number of universities across London, including south London, who are approved to deliver a Nursing Associate programme. Contact HEE or the SL STP to find out who these are.

You can also take a look at the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s approved provider database.


Financial support packages for employing organisations

HEE offer a total amount of £8,300 per trainee Nursing Associate, to support work based learning and workforce development. This is only available for starts prior to 31.03.20 and is made available over a two year period for the duration of the programme. This will be paid in instalments to the employer.

An enhanced financial support package is also available for trainee Nursing Associates who will spend a minimum of 50% of their time working in a Learning Disabilities setting.

For further information contact HEE London enquiries team on:


Upcoming events

If you’re interested in the Nursing Associate programme, or want to find out how your organisation could benefit from hiring or recruiting a trainee Nursing Associate, please keep an eye on this page for future event dates.

Support and useful resources

If you’d like to speak to someone about becoming or recruiting a Nursing Associate, email Health Education England’s dedicated team on

You can also contact the south London apprenticeship team on, for further details about the opportunities that are available to you in south London.

There are a number of useful documents and external websites that can also help to answer any outstanding queries. Please click on the links below:

Understanding the role of the Nursing Associate

Entry requirements

Career development of a Nursing Associate

Resources for applicants

 Resources for employers

Find vacancies for Trainee Nursing Associate Apprentices