Nursing Associates – enhancing patient care in Somerset


At Yeovil Hospital we’re committed to developing the NHS workforce of the future. That’s why we’re working in partnership with Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Musgrove Park Hospital , the University of West of England, and University Centre Somerset (Bridgwater and Taunton College) to pilot the new nursing associate role.

What is a Nursing Associate?

The Nursing Associate is a new job role in the NHS. It is designed to bridge the gap between Health Care Assistants and Registered Nurses .

In Somerset, we have 24 trainee Nursing Associates who will gain valuable skills and experience working in the NHS and social care. The trainees are already highly skilled and experienced NHS Health Care Assistants who will receive further training ‘on the job’ to work with patients.

By being part of this pilot we are enhancing the experience of our patients and contributing to the development of this role across the rest of the NHS.

How will they learn?

The trainee Nursing Associates are working toward a ‘Foundation Degree – Nursing Associate’. This degree is being delivered in partnership with the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) and University Centre Somerset (Bridgwater and Taunton College), and combines theoretical study with work place learning. Their two year training programme will provide them with knowledge and practical experience to enable them to deliver high quality patient care.

What will Nursing Associates be able to do?

They will look after patients in a range of NHS services, including hospitals, doctors’ surgeries and also social care settings.

Our Registered Nurses and Health Care Assistants are welcoming this new role. The role will provide care for patients which will help Registered Nurses to focus on more complex patients and managing care.

What is the difference between a Healthcare Assistant, Nursing Associate and a Registered Nurse?

These three roles deliver patient care, however Registered Nurses have overall responsibility for assessing, planning and evaluating care. Nursing Associates will support, not replace Registered Nurses.

Nursing Associates will be regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

What uniform will Nursing Associates wear?

Nursing Associates can be identified by their new uniform, embroidered in red with ‘Trainee Nursing Associate’. They would welcome being asked more about their role and their training.

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Where can I find out more?

Additional information about the Nursing Associate role can be found by visiting the Health Education England website here