This foundation degree has two stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- You’ll start Stage 1 with a 60-credit module introducing health and social care. This is followed by a 60-credit module that focuses on healthcare practice where you'll be required to complete 770 hours in practice as part of your study.
- In Stage 2, you’ll complete your foundation degree with a 60-credit theory module, and a 60-credit practice module where you will need to complete a further 770 hours in practice.
Optional Access module – visit Entry requirements to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.
In Stage 1, you’ll study a theory module and a practice module. For the practice module you will be required to complete 770 hours in practice; 345 as a supervised student, 230 in supernumerary external practice placements (recommended) and 195 in a healthcare setting which can be the role you are employed in.
In Stage 2, you will also study a theory module and a practice module. For the practice module you will be required to complete an additional 770 hours in practice; 345 as a supervised student, 230 in supernumerary external practice placements (recommended) and 195 in a healthcare setting which can be the role you are employed in.
We recommend that external supernumerary placements are spread 50:50 across the whole programme, however as long as you evidence a total of 460 hours by the end of the programme you can split these in different ways between Stage 1 and 2. For example, you may choose to complete 300 hours in Stage 2 and 160 in Stage 1, rather than 230 hours in Stage 1 and 230 hours in Stage 2.
We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 15 March 2022.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The Foundation Degree in Nursing Associate Practice uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- studying online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
- using mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
- working with specialist reading material such as scientific journals, works of art and musical manuscripts
- working in a group with other students
- using and/or producing diagrams and/or screenshots
- finding external/third party material online.
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer.
Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment
This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:
- Knowledge and understanding.
- Cognitive skills.
- Practical and professional skills.
- Key skills.
The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
If you’ve already completed some university-level study somewhere else, you may be able to count it towards this qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.
It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.
You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. For more details and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.
On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our Foundation Degree in Nursing Associate Practice.
If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Find out more about international recognition of Open University qualifications.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.
This practice-based qualification is offered in association with partnering employers in England. You'll need to have access to an appropriate setting to undertake the practical element of this foundation degree.
To register for this qualification, you'll need to:
- be employed by a partner organisation or supported by an NHS Trust or other healthcare organisation that has agreed to support your studies. This includes providing alternative practice placements and supervision in practice meeting the NMC requirements for practice assessors and supervisors.
- complete an entrance interview
- demonstrate literacy skills (functional skills level 2 or equivalent e.g. GCSE Grade C or above in English)
- demonstrate numeracy skills (functional skills level 2 or equivalent e.g. GCSE Grade C or above in Maths)
- show your ability to study at academic level 4 and the potential to progress to level 5.
If you are a trainee nursing associate, you'll need to be employed in a setting where you can be appropriately supervised by a registered nurse or other appropriate health or care professional.
Find out more
Please note you cannot register online for this qualification. Interested employers and individuals should contact us on +44 (0)300 303 0529 for information on how to apply.
Preparing for study with an Access module
Students who start their study with an Access module are more likely to be successful when they advance to Stage 1 of their qualification. They’re specially designed to give you a gentle introduction to OU study, boost confidence in your study skills, and help you gain a broad overview of your chosen subject area.
You’ll also benefit from:
- feedback from your tutor through regular one-to-one phone tutorials
- support from a dedicated team throughout your study
- detailed written feedback on your work.
The Access module we’d recommend studying in preparation for this qualification is our:
People, work and society Access module
What you will study
This multidisciplinary module provides an excellent introduction to studying with The Open University; you'll get to cover a wide range of subject areas, including childhood and youth studies, social science, psychology, health, business and law.
View full details of People, work and society Access module
Skills for career development
This foundation degree will prepare you with the practice experience and knowledge required to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) as a nursing associate. You will gain experience and knowledge in all four fields of nursing and across the lifespan, including long term conditions, mental health, children and young people, end of life care, learning disabilities, primary, secondary, community and acute care.
Throughout this qualification, you'll build on your skills and knowledge already gained by working in the healthcare sector. This will lead to registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) as a nursing associate.
When you have successfully completed this foundation degree, you'll be eligible for Nursing and Midwifery Council registration as a nursing associate. You must complete your registration within five years of completing the qualification or you will be required to undertake further training to register.
Exploring your options
Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice. This includes online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.