The Open University’s Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship (RNDA) supports employers to develop their healthcare workforce to become NMC (Nursing & Midwifery Council) Registered Nurses in the fields of Adult, Children and Young People, Learning Disabilities or Mental Health nursing.
Our nursing apprenticeship is based on our extensive experience of successfully delivering practice-based nursing programmes. Since 2002 we have supported more than 2,500 individuals to qualify as Registered Nurses.
Apprentices study flexibly alongside work, so they can put newly acquired knowledge and skills into practice immediately, for the positive benefit of service users and patients.
The apprenticeship is suitable for growing and sustaining your organisation's healthcare workforce. It is for individuals who have demonstrated the capabilities and commitment to progress to Registered Nurse status. It can also be used to attract new talent to the organisation.
The programme offers an excellent progression route from relevant Level 2 or 3 apprenticeships, and we have well established credit transfer systems for accessing academic credit achieved by people who have undertaken prior relevant qualifications such as registered Nursing Associates and Healthcare Assistant Practitioners. Depending on prior studies, up to 180 credits can be transferred to the RNDA programme.
Alongside the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) apprenticeship requirements, employers must also commit to the following programme requirements for the Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship:
For further information, visit the information for RNDA employers webpage.
The Open University (OU) has an inclusive approach to higher education and sets no formal entry requirements, other than those set by the NMC and the Apprenticeship Standards:
For the latest information on vaccination requirements for frontline health and social care workers, please check the NHS England website and the Vaccination as a Condition of Deployment: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Pre-Registration Nursing and Midwifery and Allied Health Profession Students.
Below is a summary of the eligibility criteria as set by the government for apprentices. For further information, see the Government funding rules.
To be eligible for government funding, at the start of the apprenticeship, apprentices must:
The programme has start dates in February and October each year. It takes approximately 3 years to complete on the standard route or 4 years on the extended route.
The apprenticeship is a partnership between the OU and your organisation, starting with the recruitment and selection process which is led by an OU Staff Tutor. The RNDA programme consists of at least 4600 hours which are equally split between theory and practice. The OU delivers the theory elements via online learning and formative and summative assessments. In addition to the supernumerary practice hours, all apprentices are required to undertake planned off-the-job academic study in line with ESFA funding rules.
The programme is split into 3 stages with a 60-credit theory module and a 60-credit practice module in each stage:
Introducing health and social care
Understanding nursing: knowledge and theory
Assimilating nursing: knowledge and theory
BSc (Hons) Nursing awarded:
Registration with the NMC.
Apprenticeship programme completed.
Introduction to healthcare practice
Developing nursing practice
Becoming an autonomous practitioner:
At each stage of the programme the apprentice will undertake 770 hours of supernumerary practice, split into 3 practice learning periods. The first 2 practice learning periods in each stage are based in alternative practice settings, to be organised by your organisation in collaboration with the OU. The third practice learning period is usually based in the apprentice’s primary base (e.g. the apprentice’s normal place of work).
Each apprentice must have a practice supervisor and a practice assessor as per the NMC (2018) Standards for student supervision and assessment. They will supervise and assess the apprentice’s learning in practice to achieve the proficiencies, skills, and practice-based assessments within the Practice Assessment Document (PAD).
The End-point assessment (EPA) is fully integrated into the RNDA programme. On successfully completing all theory and practice assessments, the apprentice will be awarded a BSc (Hons) Nursing in the chosen field and be eligible for registration with the NMC in one of the four fields of nursing practice.
The Open University has the experience and support in place to help apprentices succeed and make a positive impact on practice.
In addition to designated account management support, the OU will deploy expert staff to support your organisation and your apprentices. They will work collaboratively with the relevant roles in your organisation:
The PT is a key role and provides individual support to apprentices to progress and complete all the requirements of the apprenticeship or professional programme they have enrolled in. The support is tailored to the context of each learner’s professional duties and their workplace environment. Regular engagement with each learner’s line manager or work-based supervisor is a critical component of this role. In addition, the PT coaches the apprentice to integrate their academic learning with their professional work, guide them in the development of their portfolio and prepares them for their end-point assessment.
There are further roles and teams that support both apprentices and employers, and that work very closely with the PTs.
The role of the Academic Tutor is to support success by using, interpreting and building on the teaching resources produced by the OU and provided to apprentices. They monitor progression, mark assignments, provide personalised feedback and work in partnership to support the apprentices’ academic, personal and professional development. In addition, Academic Tutors provide pastoral support to apprentices. They are sometimes also referred to as Associate Lecturers or Module Tutors.
Practice Assessors ensures the apprentice has resources to complete their competencies. They meet the apprentice regularly to follow up on their progress, discuss and sign off their competencies. The Practice Assessor is responsible for ensuring an apprentice is completing their competencies and liaises with other professionals and units to ensure the apprentice completes other competencies which may not be available in their allocated placement.
The role of a Practice Supervisor is to support and supervise nursing and midwifery apprentices in the practice learning environment. All nursing and midwifery apprentices must be supervised while learning in practice environments.
This is the local lead academic who supports your organisation to deliver the Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship to meet both organisational needs and the quality assurance requirements set by the NMC, with respect to practice learning requirements and learning environment audits.
The AEST supports apprentices throughout their Apprenticeship journey. This team of friendly Senior Advisors can offer advice and support for a range of queries apprentices may have whilst studying their modules, whether that be for advice on an upcoming assignment or exam, navigation around the OU online learning platforms or when they are experiencing difficult circumstances that are having an impact on their studies. This support team is able to reach out to a wide range of relevant teams within the University to help apprentices get back on track again.
Supports your organisation to deliver their apprenticeship programmes and manages the apprentice journey from start to completion. The Apprenticeship Programme Delivery Manager also provides employers with regular apprentice progress data.
This is a person in the workplace who supports the choice of apprenticeship programme for their employee or applicant and is involved in the onboarding process with their applicant. Line managers facilitate the apprentice to take off the job planned training time and they fully engage in 12 weekly progress review meetings with the Practice Tutor and apprentice. Line managers have regular one to one meetings with their apprentices to integrate the apprenticeship into performance and development. They are key to enabling a successful work-based project and completion of the apprentice’s end-point assessment.
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An apprenticeship requires a part of an apprentice’s working time to be protected for off-the-job training, to allow the apprentice to engage in the learning. The Open University’s tutor-supported online learning gives the employer and the apprentice the flexibility to pick the most suitable times around organisational and personal needs – minimising the impact on day-to-day productivity.
At present the face-to-face days on the programme are being delivered via online meeting rooms. It is a compulsory requirement for learners to attend these days. The Open University is currently reviewing the safe delivery of on-campus face-to-face days and the programme team will be guided by the university and the Statutory Health Profession Regulators in reviewing online and on-campus delivery. Employers and learners will be advised in advance of any changes to the delivery pattern.
Online delivery is both varied and interactive, using rich media formats that engage and enthuse apprentices on their journey. Learning can be accessed 24/7 on computers, tablets and mobile devices. Online forums and tutorials as well as email and telephone communication are used to support apprentices throughout the programme.
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For a more detailed look at our Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship, download our brochure.
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