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Nursing Associate Higher Apprenticeship

The Nursing Associate Higher Apprenticeship is delivered in collaboration with healthcare employers to develop apprentices towards achieving registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) as a Nursing Associate.

The Nursing Associate is a highly trained generic support role within the field of Nursing which acts as a ‘bridge’ between unregulated Healthcare Assistants (HCA) and Registered Nurses. Nursing Associates work under the leadership and direction of Registered Nurses to deliver care based on agreed plans. 

Nursing Associates will have the breadth of knowledge and a flexible, transferable skill set to serve the health needs of local communities, covering both the full life span and a range of care settings.  Nursing Associates need to be adaptable, reliable, and consistent.  In addition, they are required to demonstrate resilience, self-awareness and leadership skills.

Who is it for?

The Nursing Associate Higher Apprenticeship is suitable for the development of existing HCAs to advance into registered Nursing Associate roles.  The programme can also be used to support external recruitment of new nursing associate apprentices to your organisation.

Entry requirements

The Open University does not set any formal entry requirements other than those set by the NMC and Apprenticeship Standards.  Employers are free to set their own additional criteria.  

Applicants must demonstrate:

  • The ability to work at Level 2 English and maths at the point of entry or achieve these qualifications during stage 1 of the apprenticeship
  • A satisfactory criminal disclosure check
  • Occupational Health clearance
  • The values and behaviours required for the Nursing Associate Higher Apprenticeship
  • Apprentices must meet the Care Certificate Standards (Skills for Care) in Stage 1 of the programme, if they not already achieved

Course information

With a focus on holistic person-centred care, apprentices will develop and demonstrate effective interpersonal skills which meet service users’ needs and rights to be treated with dignity and privacy in a compassionate and caring manner. Based on the NMC (2018) Standards of proficiency for nursing associates, apprentices will study the theory and practice of topics such as:

  • Being an accountable professional
  • Promoting health and preventing ill health
  • Providing and monitoring care
  • Improving safety and quality of care
  • Contributing to integrated care
  • Professional values and parameters of practice
  • Person-centred approaches to delivering nursing care
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Team working
  • Supporting learning and assessment in practice
  • Research, development and innovation

What support will you receive?

We are a national provider with a local presence. Our apprenticeship programmes are supported closely by academic and practitioner colleagues who link with employers to provide on-going management of the programme delivery. The OU has the experience and support in place to help apprentices succeed and make a positive impact on practice.

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:

  • Practice Tutor/Academic Assessor – Helps to integrate learning into the workplace and supports the delivery of the practice-based learning modules throughout the programme. Apprentices and their practice supervisor and practice assessor will be visited by a practice tutor at least three times per practice learning module. In addition, they provide support to students via email or phone.
  • Academic Module Tutors – Facilitates learning within the theory modules throughout the programme providing personalised tuition, delivery of online tutorials, marking assignments and giving detailed feedback on academic work.
  • Nursing Staff Tutor – Supports employers to deliver the Nursing Associate Higher Apprenticeship, to meet both organisational needs and the quality assurance requirements set by the NMC with respect to practice learning and learning environment audits.
  • Apprenticeship Programme Delivery Manager – Supports employers to deliver their apprenticeship programmes and manages the apprentice journey from start to completion. They also provide employers with regular apprentice progress data.
  • English and Maths Functional Skills Tutors – Provide additional support to apprentices requiring qualifications in these subjects.  These specialist tutors are able to provide one-to-one support in areas of challenge and to help prepare the apprentice for formal qualification tests.

​Why choose The Open University’s Nursing Associate Higher Apprenticeship?

The Open University has worked in partnership with healthcare employers for over 18 years to deliver highly successful work-based Nursing programmes. We offer:

  • Extensive experience in developing learners’ study skills as they engage in the programme
  • Online content and forums are available 24/7 to support high quality education and learning regardless of location
  • The programme enhances the delivery of safe, effective and compassionate care, through developing evidence-based healthcare practitioners
  • Tutor-supported online learning is delivered flexibly around the demands of your organisation, enabling apprentices to balance study with personal commitments 
  • Our experience in supporting learners, whatever their prior attainment, means you can develop applicants from all backgrounds, with us helping them to develop study skills as they engage with the programme
  • Apprentices can apply what they learn immediately into practice, for the positive benefit of the organisation