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20 April 2022

Take-up and challenges: Nursing Associates in social care

Part of our evaluation of the introduction of Nursing Associates across health and social care

Person holding the wrist of another person

Today the NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce publishes the results of a scoping study which seeks a better understanding of the Nursing Associate role in the social care sector.

The government announced its intention to create the Nursing Associate role in 2015 – it was designed to help bridge the gap between health and care assistants and registered nurses. It is a standalone role that is intended to provide a progression route into graduate level nursing. Researchers at the Unit, led by Prof Ian Kessler, have been examining the degree to which policy objectives are being realised.

In terms of the new role’s impact in the social care sector, today’s report addresses this by way of an examination of: take-up, rationale, positioning, and challenges. The report contains a Foreword by Deborah Sturdy OBE, the Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care in England.

For me it was so encouraging to read that where Nursing Associates have been successfully supported, it has had a positive impact on care and quality, though the numbers are small. … I commend this insightful report to readers with an interest in adult social care workforce developments, which are so vital to social wellbeing and to those committed to making the most of nurses’ competence, care and compassion.

Deborah Sturdy OBE

This publication

Kessler, I., Manthorpe, J., Harris, J., Moriarty, J., & Steils, N. (2022) Evaluating the introduction of the Nursing Associate role in social care. NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce, The Policy Institute, King's College London.

In this story

Ian Kessler

Professor of Public Policy and Management

Jill Manthorpe

Professor Emerita of Social Work

Jess Harris

Research Fellow

Nicole Steils

Research Fellow