The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has formally agreed to regulate the new nursing associate role. It accepted a request by the Department of Health (DoH) to enter the new role on its register at a meeting of its ruling council on 25th January 2017.
The head of the regulator has said that the NMC’s decision to regulate Nursing Associates role will benefit nurses, because it will give them with “a great deal more assurance” in their practice when they assign tasks.
In November 2016, the Department of Health had asked the NMC to regulate the new Nursing Associates Role, which has been developed to bridge the gap between the health & care support workers, offering opportunities for health care assistants to progress into nursing roles. Nursing associates will require 2 years’ training and give hands-on care and will not independently review treatment plans or make decisions on care.
According to the NMC, it would need the government to pay £4m to set up regulation for nursing associates or else there will be risk on its other programmes of work, including its revision of nurse education standards.
However, NMC also said that having one body regulating both nursing associates and nurse would make it simpler to align education and practice standards where needed, and point out the differences between them as necessary.
The Chief Executive and Registrar of the NMC, Jackie Smith said that the NMC has agreed to an appeal from the DoH to be the regulator for the new nursing associate role, after a thoughtful and thorough discussion.
She further added that the role of the NMC is to provide clarity for patients and the profession. NMC are well equipped to regulate nursing associates and this is a positive endorsement of their progress. NMC will continue to work closely with stakeholders including the Health Education England and Department of Health to guarantee the successful development and implementation of Nursing Associates role.
In December 2016, more than 1,000 nursing associates trainees have began training at 11 test sites in England. A second cohort will also begin training at another 24 sites in the spring. By the end of the nursing associates training, they will have gained a “level 5” qualification, equivalent to a foundation degree.
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