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Health and Social Care: Nursing Associate

2023/24 entry

Train to become a Nursing Associate with this healthcare apprenticeship.

Nursing Associates bridge the gap between health and care assistants, and registered nurses.

The role contributes to the core work of nursing, freeing up registered nurses to focus on more complex clinical care.

This course prepares you to work alongside healthcare assistants and registered nurses to deliver and evaluate hands-on care. This is an integrated apprenticeship course which leads to a Nursing Associate Apprenticeship at Level 5.

During the course you are employed as a trainee Nursing Associate. You'll experience practice in a variety of clinical settings, and spend approximately one day per week completing university study.

Nursing Associate is a stand-alone role, but the course is a good step towards studying nursing at a higher level.


On completion of the course, you will be eligible to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) as a Nursing Associate.

Watch on YouTube

In this film from Health Education England, we meet trainee nursing associates who describe the vital part they play as members of the wider nursing team.


Talk to your employer about applying for this programme.

Earn while you learn

Stay in work while you level up to Nursing Associate.

Course content

The taught elements of your course focus on the knowledge, skills and attitudes you'll need as an Nursing Associate. You'll gain the numeracy, literacy, digital and technological skills required to meet the needs of people in your care.

You'll work alongside your studies, giving you real world experiences of applying of theory to practice. This will help to develop your understanding of the complexity of care, and promote your ability to analyse complex problems and make sound decisions.

Your normal place of work will act as your main placement. You'll also undertake specialist placements to ensure you have a breadth of experience in different settings.

The End Point Assessment for the apprenticeship is an Exam Board. To successfully meet the requirements of the Exam Board, you will need to have completed the following elements:

Every course at York has been designed to provide clear and ambitious learning outcomes. These learning outcomes give you an understanding of what you will be able to do at the end of the course. We develop each course by designing modules that grow your abilities towards the learning outcomes and help you to explain what you can offer to employers. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Consider all aspects of their professional practice within the Nursing Associate role with accountability and responsibility.
  • Promote health and wellbeing, the maintenance of it, and the prevention of ill-health.
  • Assess and monitor an individual’s care, and identify and escalate concerns where necessary.
  • Communicate effectively within teams, to support the delivery of high quality care for all individuals.
  • Identify and respond to risk, so as to inform improvements in the quality and safety of person-centred care and compassionate practice.
  • Collaborate in partnership with stakeholders across a range of organisations, settings and fields of practice to deliver integrated individual care.

Apprenticeship funding

As an apprentice you do not pay course fees. An apprentice is employed by an organisation which entitles them to earn as they learn. Please contact your employer for further details around apprenticeship routes for this programme.

Additional costs

There may be extra costs on top of tuition fees, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching format

Your time will be split roughly equally between practice and theory. You'll undertake 720 hours of protected learning time in your base placement over 2 years and 480 hours of protected learning time in a range of external placements over the 2 years. You'll get exposure to service users across a range of settings and lifespans. 20% of your time must be for study, 20% for a range of practice experience with protected learning time and the rest of practice in protected learning time.

Teaching will include face to face sessions including lectures and workshops. There will also be an element of online learning.

Teaching location

You'll experience practice in a variety of clinical settings, and spend approximately one day per week completing university study.

Assessment and feedback

You'll be assessed on both your theoretical and practical skills throughout the course. You will have to successfully complete all areas to be able to progress.

You’ll submit summative work, which counts towards your final degree score, and formative work, which doesn’t count towards your final grade but gives you the chance to practise techniques and receive valuable feedback. We’ll provide detailed feedback on the work you submit, supporting you as you improve and refine your work.

Careers and skills

Nursing associate is a stand-alone role that will also provide a progression route into graduate level nursing. Your skills and knowledge will also be suitable for a wide range of positions in healthcare and related fields.

Career opportunities

As you progress through your career, you could go onto a number or posts including:

  • staff nurse
  • clinical team leader
  • counsellor
  • cognitive behavioural therapist
  • nursing consultant
  • critical care nurse
  • research nurse
  • modern matron
  • clinical educator

Transferable skills

Alongside gaining the essential practical skills and knowledge you need to be an effective Nursing Associate, you'll gain a huge range of skills that will help you to succeed no matter what career path you follow:

  • teamwork
  • independent learning
  • service improvement
  • self-reflection

Entry requirements

We only invite people to apply who have been put forward by the NHS Trusts following the Expression of Interest process. We cannot accept any direct applications. 

  • Ability to study at Level 5
  • Level 2 Maths and English or equivalent
  • You must be aged 16 or over, living in England and not in full-time education

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability.

All places are offered subject to a satisfactory enhanced current (within three months) Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) disclosure and register with the update service. For more information please read the Nursing Associate DBS guidance (PDF , 391kb). You will also have to undertake an occupational health screening. This will involve completing an on-line occupational health questionnaire and attendance if required at a medical appointment.

How to apply

Your employer will circulate details of the apprenticeship and an Expression of Interest Form for completion if you would like to be considered for the programme. Once the deadline has closed, your employer will assess the applications and if you are a suitable candidate, your details will be forwarded to the university.

If your employer puts your name forward, our Apprenticeships Unit will aks you to complete the University of York application.

University of York application

The University application consists of three documents. All must be completed as part of your application.

Online application form

You will receive access to the You@York applicant portal within 24-48 hours of submitting the online application form. Once you have access to the portal you will be able to login to add additional documents.

Initial Assessment form

This is a self-assessment form which is used to assess your eligibility for the programme and identify where you have prior experiential or certificated learning; create an Individual Learning Plan and calculate funding costs.

Supplementary application form

You'll receive full details about completing the supplementary form by email.

Shortlisting and interview

Once the University of York application deadline has closed, the programme team will shortlist applicants for interview.

If you are shortlisted, you will be invited to attend interview with a panel comprising two members of the programme team. You'll be asked questions to determine your suitability for the apprenticeship programme. The panel will discuss with you your responses to the Initial Assessment. You will have the opportunity to ask the panel any questions you may have.

Next steps

Contact us

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