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Nursing Associates – NMC to Regulate New Role

The NMC agree to regulate the new nursing associates role

The NMC have agreed to a request to regulate the new nursing associates role. The NMC strongly believe that the public would expect that any role with nursing in the title should be regulated. The introduction of this new role has been part and parcel of the government’s commitment to strengthening the NHS.

The role was developed as a bridge between registered nurses and health care support workers. It is expected to be a stand-alone role as well as a route to becoming a registered nurse. The intention is that nursing associates will have foundation degrees but registered nurses will still have primary responsibility. There are currently 35 pilot training sites with the first tranche expected in 2019.


Nursing Associates

The introduction of this new role has been part and parcel of the government’s commitment to strengthening the NHS."

Registered nurses and nursing associates
According to the new proposals, the intention is that for nursing associates, who will have foundation degrees, that they should contribute to the delivery of patient care. The NMC website asserts that the registered nurse will still have responsibility as the primary assessor, planner and evaluator of care. Nursing associates will support, not replace, registered nurses.
There is generally a positive response to the new role but despite the assurances of the NMC there are some concerns that the new nursing associates role could substitute registered nurses.

Jackie Smith, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar of the NMC said:

“After a thoughtful and thorough discussion, the NMC’s Council has agreed to a request from the Department of Health to be the regulator for the new nursing associate role. 

“The Council recognised that there is strong support for the regulation of nursing associates and I have always maintained that the public would expect any role with nursing in the title to be regulated.

“As an organisation we are well-equipped to regulate nursing associates and this is a positive endorsement of our progress. We will continue to work closely with stakeholders including the Department of Health and Health Education England to ensure the successful development and implementation of this new role.”

Health Minister Philip Dunne said:

“Robust professional regulation is important, so patients can continue to be confident they are receiving high quality care and I am delighted with today’s decision by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
“The introduction of the Nursing Associate role is key to strengthening the future NHS workforce and we look forward to working with them and other key stakeholders to ensure that appropriate safeguards are put in place for this new profession.”

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