The Open University’s Nursing Associate Higher Apprenticeship supports employers to attract people into the nursing profession or develop their healthcare support workers (HCSWs) as nursing associates. Trainee nursing associates will experience a wide range of learning opportunities and contexts, with placements in each of the three health and care settings; hospital, at home and close to home.
The apprenticeship has been developed from our experience of delivering a successful practice-based pre-registration nursing programme – a flexible, work-based degree that currently has over 1,000 students and has helped more than 1,500 HCSWs register as qualified nurses since 2002.
Apprentices will complete a regulated Level 5 qualification (Foundation Degree in Nursing Associate Practice) that must be delivered by an institution approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to provide pre-registration nursing education. The Open University is recognised by the NMC as being in the top 6% of Pre-registration nursing providers. The foundation degree is a balance of theory and practice delivered through practice-based and online tutor-supported learning. Nursing associates will have a breadth of knowledge and a flexible, transferable skill set to serve the health needs of local communities, covering pre-conception to end-of-life care, across a range of settings.
Because apprentices study flexibly alongside work, they will put their newly acquired knowledge and skills into practice immediately, for the positive benefit of patients and service users.
The Apprenticeship will:
The programme is suitable for the development of existing HCSWs who have demonstrated the capabilities and commitment to develop towards a nursing role and can also be used to support recruitment of new apprentices to your organisation.
We have set no formal entry requirements, but the Health Education England (HEE) framework requires that apprentices demonstrate the ability to work at Level 2 English and maths (or equivalent) at point of entry, or achieve them during the first year of the apprenticeship.
By the end of the first year, apprentices must also have gained, or be demonstrating, the skills and competencies of the Care Certificate.
Employers are free to set their own additional entry criteria.
Nursing associate apprentices work under the supervision of a registered nurse and will learn and work in various aspects of the nursing process, taking account of the perspectives and pathways of individuals, their families and/or carers, providing holistic and person-centred care to individuals and supporting the registered nurse in the assessment, planning, delivery and evaluation of care.
With the focus on person and family-centred care, apprentices develop and demonstrate effective interpersonal skills that meet service users’ needs for, and rights to, dignity and privacy in a compassionate and caring manner.
Apprentices also explore:
Practice learning must take place in each of three types of settings: in hospital, close to home and at home. The apprentice’s work place will be the primary setting for practice learning. In addition they must undertake a substantive placement of at least 300 hours in each of the other two types of settings, totalling 675 hours of practice away from their primary setting. The OU will work with employers to identify individual practice pathways that meet the needs of the apprentice and the workplace.
The assessment plan for the apprenticeship states that apprentices must complete approximately 3,000 hours (or 50% of their time, whichever is greatest) devoted to structured learning activities, including:
For apprentices to complete the programme in two years, they will need to work at least 30 hours per week. If an apprentice is employed for less than 30 hours per week, the apprenticeship will be extended, commensurate with the reduction in hours.
Our technology-enabled flexible delivery approach, supported by a network of OU nursing staff deployed across England, means apprentices are not required to undertake day release to attend campus-based provision. It also means that study time can be adjusted based on service requirements.
To complete the programme, apprentices will be required to undertake an end-point assessment after successful completion of all other elements of the apprenticeship and we will support apprentices to be ready for this.
We are a national provider with a local presence. Our nursing programmes are supported closely by academic and practitioner colleagues who link with employers to provide on-going management of the programme delivery. Locally-based practice tutors support apprentices and supervisors throughout the practice-based learning. Apprentices are also supported by expert academic module tutors, who deliver all of the necessary underpinning theoretical knowledge.
In addition to a designated academic and professional lead for healthcare and account management support, we will deploy expert staff to support you and your apprentices: