Trainee Nursing Associate


The nursing associate is a bridging role between health and care assistants and graduate registered nurses. Nursing associates are new members of the care team, who are trained to foundation degree level. Created to deliver hands-on, person-centred care as part of nursing teams. Nursing Associates work in many different health and care settings, including hospitals, care homes, learning disabilities, general practice and in the community.

The role was introduced in response to the Shape of Caring Review (2015), to help build the capacity of the nursing workforce and the delivery of high-quality care. It will be a vital part of the wider health and care team and aims to:

  • Support the career progression of healthcare assistants
  • Enable nurses to focus on more complex clinical work
  • Increase the supply of nurses by providing a progression route into graduate-level nursing.

Like with nurses and other healthcare professionals, nursing associates can expand their knowledge and skills with the right training and governance. The intention is for nursing associates to support, not substitute, registered nurses.

Scope of Practice

Role Responsibilities

As a trainee nurse associate, you will develop an understanding of all elements of the nursing process and caring for individuals with conditions such as dementia, mental ill health and learning disabilities/difficulties. 

The role of the Trainee Nursing Associate (TNA) needs to be flexible in line with the present atmosphere for change within the health service delivery. It is essential that the trainee nursing associate works within their own level of competency and expand her/his role in accordance with practice requirements and own scope of practice.  They deliver care while under supervision of a nursing associate or registered nurse. 

Over the course of the 2-year TNA programme, a TNA will develop the skills and knowledge to provide direct care to patients and families which may include the following duties:

  • undertaking clinical tasks including cannulation, venepuncture and ECGs
  • performing and recording clinical observations such as blood pressure, temperature, respirations and pulse
  • Adult and Child immunisations
  • Assisting with meeting Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) targets
  • Support the management of Long-Term Conditions
  • discussing and sharing information with registered nurses on a patients’ condition, behaviour, activity and responses
  • ensuring the privacy, dignity and safety of individuals is maintained at all times
  • recognising issues relating to safeguarding vulnerable children and adults
Trainee Nursing Associate Introduction animation

Entry Requirements

  • Trainee Nursing Associates may have various health or social care backgrounds. 
  • Training is usually undertaken via an apprenticeship route or self-funded. 
  • To begin training as a Nursing Associate, applicants will require GCSE’s grade 9 to 4 (A to C) in Maths and English OR Functional Skills Level 2 in Maths and English. 
  • If you do not hold these qualifications, you will be expected to undergo a numeracy and literacy assessment as part of the recruitment process. 
  • Employers e.g individual GP Practices, may set additional entry requirements to suit service provision for their Practice. 

Training and Development


Please see above ‘Entry requirements’

Standard (on entry to Primary Care)

A Nursing Associate foundation degree needs to be completed and the training programme is usually taken over two years. 

  • To meet the requirements of the training programme, trainee nursing associates must work in a range of settings and situations to gain as much experience as possible across different age groups. 
  • You can undertake both academic and work-based learning and can either earn while you learn as part of an apprenticeship programme or go through a self-funded route. 

To find out more about apprenticeships, including how to apply, please see information on this Apprenticeship page and also do reach out to SNEE training Hub where support and advice can be offered with our dedicated team.   

Nursing Associate Apprenticeship Information pack (NMC)

Nursing Associate Curriculum Framework (NHSE)

Education providers 

As of July 2019. training to become a Nursing Associate is only offered by a NMC-approved nursing associate programmes.  See details of NMC approved Nursing Associate programmes here.

Additional Training opportunities

Qualified nursing associates can also go on to train as a registered nurse by putting their training towards a shortened nursing degree or registered nurse degree apprenticeship (RNDA).

For more information see the Nursing Associate page.

Supervision Requirements

Supervision is a process of professional learning and development that enables individuals to reflect on and develop their knowledge, skills and competence, through regular support from another professional.

Supervision can have different forms and functions and a number of terms are used to describe these. For this guidance we use the below terms and define them as follows:

  • Clinic/practice supervision: day-to-day support provided by a named/duty senior/more experienced clinician for issues arising in the practice.
  • Clinical/professional supervision: regular support from a named senior/experienced clinician/practitioner to promote high clinical standards and develop professional expertise.
  • Educational supervision: supports learning and enables learners to achieve proficiency.

Trainee Nursing Associate Supervision

It is recommended that TNA’s have access to appropriate clinical supervision and an appropriate named individual in the PCN to provide support and guidance on a day-to-day basis. This would typically be a more senior/experienced nursing associate, registered nurse or advanced practitioner.  The employer, alongside the Approved Education Institution must ensure that each trainee Nursing Associate has access to a dedicated Practice Assessor and Supervisor and has the appropriate amount of dedicated supervision to suit the training programme.  These discussions usually take place at time of application. 

Supervision Guidance for primary care network multidisciplinary teams (NHSE, 2023)


The indicative banding for a Trainee nursing Associate through the ARRS scheme is AFC Band 3. 

100% of actual salary plus defined on costs covered via ARRS Scheme. 

Training and development funding

Trainee Nursing Associate Apprenticeship training financial support has been approved by NHSE.  For further information regarding please see the Apprenticeship page.

Recruitment Information

Where a PCN employs or engages a Trainee Nursing Associate under the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme, the PCN must ensure that the Trainee Nursing Associate meets the ‘Minimum Role Requirements’ stipulated in Annex B of the Network DES

Please find various resources in this section to assist in the recruitment and embedding of the Trainee Nursing Associate role in General Practice.

Additional Resources