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Examining the Introduction of the Nursing Associate Role in Health and Social Care

Purpose

In 2015 the government announced the creation of a new nursing associate role designed to help bridge the gap between health and care assistants and registered nurses. It is a stand-alone role that is designed to provide a progression route into graduate level nursing. Nursing associates work with people of all ages and in a variety of settings in health and social care. It is hoped that nursing associates will free up registered nurses to focus on more complex clinical care and help with some of the workforce recruitment and retention problems in health and social care.

We will examine the introduction of the nursing associate role and the extent to which it has achieved the policy aims of providing a new route into nursing and of reducing the skills gap between health and care assistants and registered nurses.

Read more about this study on our blog. | Read about the COVID-19 related extension to this study.

Timescale

2019 - 2021

Research team

Ian Kessler, Jill Manthorpe, Jo Moriarty, Jess Harris, Nicole Steils, Kritika Samsi. Pida Ripley is PPIE Lead on this study with support from other members of the Unit’s PPIE group.

Funding

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Policy Research Programme.

Methods

This multi-method study will collect data from nursing associates, directors of nursing and care, health and care professionals, senior nurses and care workers, workforce planners, nursing and social care educators and researchers, regulators, policymakers, other stakeholders, patients, service users, and family members and carers.  Work has begun collecting information via interviews with key informants and experts on the early impact of nursing associates. This is accompanied by an analysis of key policy documents and a literature review. Nursing associates and directors of nursing will be surveyed at two points in time about their views and experiences with other data collection from social care stakeholders. Alongside this, a series of in-depth 6-8 case studies will be undertaken across a range of different health and social care organisations spread across England.

Interim Report. Two case studies

Kessler, I., Steils, N., Samsi, K., Moriarty, J., Harris, J., Bramley, S., & Manthorpe, J. (2020). Evaluating the Introduction of the Nursing Associate Role in Health and Social Care: Interim Report. London: NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce, The Policy Institute, King’s College London.

Kessler, I., Steils, N., Samsi, K., Moriarty, J., Harris, J., Bramley, S., & Manthorpe, J. (2020). Evaluating the Introduction of the Nursing Associate Role: The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust Case Study. London: NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce, The Policy Institute, King’s College London.

Kessler, I., Steils, N., Samsi, K., Moriarty, J., Harris, J., Bramley, S., & Manthorpe, J. (2020). Evaluating the Introduction of the Nursing Associate Role: The Livewell Southwest Case Study. London: NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce, The Policy Institute, King’s College London.

Impact

This is an important and high-profile policy development in nursing and engagement with policymakers is informing the study aims and methods. Early discussions with the Cabinet Office are complementing regular communications with the Department of Health and Social Care and Health Education England.

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