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27 September 2021

Policymaker and practitioner perspectives on the introduction of the Nursing Associate role - new report

The results of a series of interviews with experts from the health and social care system on this new role are published today.

Clinician putting on a mask

The Nursing Associate (NA) is a registered role at National Health Service (NHS) Pay Band 4, typically positioned between the care assistant and the registered nurse. It is a relatively new role, adopted by health and social care employers since 2017 when the first 2,000 Trainee Nursing Associates (TNA) were taken on, completing their Level 5 qualification two years later. TNA cohorts have been recruited by employers in each of the subsequent years. In summer 2021, there are around 4,000 registered NAs in post and 6,000 TNAs in training.

Since Spring 2019, researchers from the NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce, have been evaluating the NA role, concentrating on its deployment, use, management and impact. Two surveys of Nurse Directors in NHS Trusts (2019 and 2020) have been completed, along with two NHS Trust case studies.

A series of interviews with experts from the health and social care system has also been undertaken. In 2019, the first set of such interviews was completed. By late 2020 it was felt that a repeat set of interviews would deepen our understanding of how the NA role was settling down, particularly in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. This new report presents the findings from this second set of interviews.

In this story

Ian Kessler

Professor of Public Policy and Management

Jill Manthorpe

Professor Emerita of Social Work

Nicole Steils

Research Fellow

Jess Harris

Research Fellow