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Nursing Associate Higher Apprenticeship

The Brunel University London Nursing Associate Foundation Degree Apprenticeship provides apprentices with the opportunity to develop their skills, knowledge and behaviours, to become a Nursing Associate.

The Nursing Associate is a new and exciting role in health and social care developed by the NHS. The Nursing Associate is a highly trained healthcare professional delivering safe, effective and responsive nursing care across a broad range of health and social care settings. 

The Brunel Nursing Associate Apprenticeship Programme aims to produce Nursing Associates who can deliver high quality, person-centred care underpinned by a breadth of knowledge, skills and attitudes which allow them to work across a range of ages from early life to end of life.  The programme integrates the Nursing & Midwifery Council Standards of Proficiency for Nursing Associates, (NMC, 2018) and the core domains of the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship Standard (Institute of Apprenticeships and Technical Education, 2019).  Apprentice Nursing Associates will study whilst they work in order to complete a Level 5 Foundation Degree, qualifying as Nursing Associates who will work under the supervision of a registered nurse.

How is this programme delivered?

The programme is designed to ensure an equal balance of theory and practice delivered through practice based and classroom based learning. Apprentice nursing associates will complete 2,300 hours of theoretical and clinical training across the programme (NMC, 2018). University based teaching will take place on day release delivery throughout the academic year. As well as learning at their main place of employment apprentice nursing associates will spend 675 hours in alternative placements ensuring over the course of the apprenticeship that they develop a wide range of clinical skills across a wide range of settings. Apprentices are required to spend 20% of their contracted hours off the job in training or assessment activities. Apprentice nursing associates will be required to complete 1,150 hours of theoretical learning achieving 120 academic credits at level 1 and 2 respectively. The End Point Assessment is carried out at the end of the training period when the employer is satisfied that the employee has demonstrated that the trainee has met the gateway criteria required.

Protected Learning Time

Protected learning time is designated time in which apprentices are supported to learn. The NMC set out the requirements for the protected learning time required during this apprenticeship within the ‘Standards for pre-registration nursing associate programmes,’ (2018). Employers are required to give written assurance that apprentices will be released for the following protected learning time during the apprenticeship programme:

  • At least 20% of the programme for academic study
  • At least 20% of the programme time for external placements
  • the remainder of the required programme hours

More information on the NMCs’ Standards for pre-registration nursing associate programmes is available at https://bit.ly/2ZHjy0R

Course Structure 

Level 1 Modules 


Developing Professional Practice

This module introduces apprentices to:

  • The skills required for academic study and how plan and prioritise academic study and workload.Reflective practice.
  • The nature of evidence and how it informs clinical practice. 
  • Examination of the professional role of the Nursing Associate in accordance with legal and ethical frameworks. 
  • Contribution to patient care within the scope of practice as a Nursing Associate. 
  • Communication and development of inter-personal skills. 
  • The fundamental principles of nursing practice and the behaviour required to deliver compassionate, high quality, person centred care. 
  • Personalised care delivery, including patient choice, consent, flexible care planning and evidence based professional practice.

Developing Skills for Nursing Associate Practice 

This module introduces apprentices to:

  • An understanding of human biology
  • The procedures undertaken in the health care setting by the nursing associate. 
  • Identification of normal and abnormal vital signs and acting upon the evidence.
  • Drug calculations for safe medicine administration. 
  • Support for people of all ages who require nursing procedures during the provision and monitoring of care and treatment for mental, physical, cognitive and behavioural health needs. 
  • Preparing for clinical practice. 
  • Physical and mental health in relation to providing holistic care including personal health and resilience. 

Promoting Health and Well-being across the Lifespan 

This module introduces apprentices to:

  • An understanding of the physical, psychological and sociological developments across the human lifespan.  
  • Child and young people’s health and development, progressing through to study how the aging process affects the older adult. 
  • The influence of genetics and the study of genomics.
  • Concepts of health and ill health and common diseases and conditions. 
  • The impact of health and social inequalities and how the social determinants of health influence the health and well-being of individuals. 
  • Health promotion, education and in safeguarding vulnerable people. 
  • The relationship between lifestyle, health and cultural beliefs and how these impact on the health of people. 
  • The needs of people with long-term conditions and personalised care planning.

Introducing Work-based Learning 

This module introduces apprentices to:

  • Theory and practice in their workplace.
  • Self-analysis and reflection in the workplace.
  • Academic and theoretical concepts underpinning clinical practice. 
  • Critical occurrences and the formal mechanisms for managing such events. 
  • Personal development plans for the formative assessment. 
  • Clinical governance, clinical audit and service improvement.

Learning in Practice

This module introduces apprentices to:

  • Learning in the workplace and practice environment. 
  • What is expected of the nursing associate in practice
  • How the nursing associate supports the registered nurse in the assessment, planning and evaluation of care.
  • Effective person-centred care.


Level 2 Modules


Developing Evidence Based Practice

This module introduces apprentices to:

  • Research evidence and how this is applied to the clinical practice environment. 
  • Critical appraisal skills to inform and develop the evidence base for clinical practice. 
  • The theoretical and practical contexts of research
  • The challenges and conflicts, which arise in providing patient centred care. 
  • The values and ethical frameworks that underpin health and social care. 

Enhancing Skills for Nursing Associate Practice 

This module introduces apprentices to:

  • Applied pathophysiology. 
  • Continued development and enhancement of numeracy skills.
  • Safe and effective medicine management practice. 
  • Assessing and monitoring person-centred care. 
  • Applying person-centred in collaboration with others.
  • Supporting people with a range of physical and mental health conditions.

Management and Collaborative Practice 

This module introduces apprentices to:

  • Working within teams and across disciplines.
  • How effective team working influences patient care. 
  • Inter-agency and inter-professional collaboration.
  • Working effectively within their scope of practice and in partnership with people their families, carers and the inter-disciplinary health care team in diverse health and social care settings.

Developing Work-based Learning

This module introduces apprentices to:

  • Action enquiry in the workplace. 
  • Planning and carrying out service improvement initiatives. 
  • Research, innovation and audit in patient safety. 
  • The nursing associate as a role model.
  • Key structures of service development within health care.
  • The role of statutory and advisory regulatory bodies. 

Apprentices will also plan, conduct, evaluate and report on a small service improvement project. 

Nursing Associate Learning in Practice part 2

In this practice module, apprentices will: 

  • Demonstrate the knowledge and understanding of what is expected of the nursing associate in practice and how the nursing associate supports the registered nurse in the assessment, planning and evaluation of care ensuring that safe and effective person-centred care is provided to a diverse range of people across the lifespan and in a variety of settings,

End Point Assessment

At the end of the apprenticeship an Education and Skills Funding Agency registered end point assessment organisation, tests the apprentice to confirm that they are occupationally competent.The end-point assessment comprises of an observation including question and answer session as necessary and a professional discussion.  This provides apprentices with a showcase opportunity to provide evidence of their knowledge, skills and behaviours developed throughout the apprenticeship. Further information on the end point assessment is available at: https://bit.ly/31Sq1cn 

Who is this programme for?

This apprenticeship programme offers a flexible opportunity for existing and newly appointed health and social care support workers to develop their skills and knowledge and further their responsibilities within health care settings. The apprenticeship has been designed in partnership alongside our partner NHS Trusts; this close collaboration ensures that the learning and teaching strategy is responsive to work force changes in nursing and health care practiceThe programme is suitable for the development of existing Health Care Support Workers who have demonstrated the capabilities and commitment to develop towards a nursing role. This apprenticeship can also be used to support recruitment of new employees, such as those with, a Level 3 apprenticeship in Senior Healthcare Support Worker, a BTEC Level 3 in Health and Care, or equivalent.

Our partnership with you

Your Apprentice Nursing Associate will have on-going support from an Academic Tutor and a Practice Link Tutor for the duration of the programme as well as receiving guidance and support from the Practice Assessors, Practice Supervisors and Academic Assessors during clinical placements. A named nursing academic and apprenticeship manager are able to guide you through the contractual process and will provide support and advice throughout the programme. A named academic nurse will meet with the apprentice nursing associate and practice staff every twelve weeks in order to review the trainee’s progress. 

Entry requirements

  • Employed in a health care role (minimum 30 hours per week)  and employer support to undertake the programme
  • GCSE in English and mathematics minimum grade C or above or Level 2 equivalency in literacy and numeracy
  • If English is not the applicants first language they must demonstrate proficiency in English Language (ILETS level1 6.0, with no element less than 5.5)
  • Applicants must also provide via the employer: Fitness to Work Health Check, Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check
  • Achieve a pass in Brunel University London numeracy and literacy tests at interview
  • Demonstrate specific values in accordance with the NMC Code 2018 (assessed at interview based on ‘Values Based Recruitment Framework’ Health Education England, 2014
  • Have the capability to learn behaviours in accordance with the NMC Code 2018 assessed at interview based on ‘Values Based Recruitment Framework’ Health Education England, 2014)
  • Have the capability to develop digital and technological literacy in order to meet the programme outcomes

We welcome applicants with equivalent qualifications and industrial experience (relevant to the subject area), who will be assessed on an individual basis.

Final Degree Award and Professional Recognition

Successful Apprentice Nursing Associates will gain an accredited Level 5 Foundation Degree from Brunel University London. Successful completion of the course will allow trainees to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, (NMC).

Foundation Degree Science (FdSc) Nursing Associate

More information about how the role is regulated is available on the NMC website https://bit.ly/3gmcqOd

Approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

Benefits to your organisation

This apprenticeship standard has been developed in conjunction with the Nursing and Midwifery Council and a variety of NHS organisations to ensure the content and its assessment meet the needs of employers, both today and in the future.

The flexible programme has been designed to deliver real impact to organisations as it enables apprentices to put their newly acquired knowledge and skills into

The apprenticeship supports employers to:

  • Develop their existing support workforce and act to attract new talent
  • Increase staff retention by offering clear and structured career progression to valued healthcare support workers
  • Improve the experience of patients and service users
  • Maximise use of the apprenticeship levy
  • Support widening participation initiatives

Why choose Brunel 

At Brunel University London we understand some of the challenges in developing and retaining highly skilled employees, so we are delighted to be offering this Nursing & Midwifery Council approved Foundation Degree. We focus on the skills and experience you as employers are looking for in order to meet the challenges of delivering a high quality modern health service. We provide a comprehensive support programme through our Professional Development Centre, which include workshops, webinars, networking events and much more. By joining Team Brunel your apprentice nursing associate will study and learn with academic experts who are at the top of their field and passionate about their subjects. The apprentice nursing associate will develop the skills for evidence-based practice and will be able to adopt problem-solving approaches in the work place. We will introduce confidence in our apprentice nursing associates to ensure that they are able to use their own clinical and professional judgment to influence the delivery of nursing care.

Our London campus community provides everything the apprentice nursing associates require to support their studies, with some of the best equipment with excellent facilities that mirror the world of work. We have more than 1,400 study spaces, 500 PC’s, group study rooms and silent study areas across the campus, plus 24-hour access to our Library. We provide world-class sports facilities,’ a diverse Arts Centre Students Union, prayer facilities, all of this within easy reach of central London. Over 110 countries are represented on campus, creating a vibrant and diverse international community.

Whilst studying at Brunel University London apprentice nursing associates will be based in the College of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences. The College specialises in professional programmes and courses that enable graduates to make a real difference in the world around them. We have a long and successful history of providing programmes for health and social care professionals. Brunel’s pre-registration Physiotherapy programme is the largest in London and South East England. The Occupational Therapy Programme at Brunel is one of the largest, longest established and most highly regarded programmes in the world. In fact, we are the original ‘London School of Occupational Therapy’, founded in 1934.

Through Brunel’s key strategic partnerships with local NHS Trusts we aim to make Brunel a key contributor of health research in the UK. The Nursing Associate Apprenticeship Programme offered at Brunel will produce Nursing Associates equipped with the knowledge, understanding, skills, attitudes and behaviours required to work alongside registered nurses and health care assistants to deliver and evaluate hands on care in a modern health care service. We aim to combine a thorough professional education with academic excellence and have a substantial record of research innovation and publication, which is reflected in the quality, and relevance of our teaching.