Developed in partnership with NHS trusts and other health and care partners, the creation of the Nursing Associate Higher Apprenticeship is a landmark innovation for the nursing and care professions.
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What is the Nursing Associate Higher Apprenticeship?
Consisting of learning in both academic and practice settings, the Nursing Associate Higher Apprenticeship equips learners with the skills and professional competence to support the delivery of high quality care, both now and in the future.
Delivered over two years, this programme is intended to be a self-standing Level 5 qualification. However, it can also provide the basis for further study, including the BSc (Hons) in Nursing and the Nursing Degree Apprenticeship, both of which are available at University of Gloucestershire.
As no two learners are the same, assessment is through a range of methods including essays, projects, presentations, portfolios and exams, as well as through the demonstration of clinical competence.
This higher apprenticeship is delivered through a blended approach consisting of learning in both academic and practice settings. Theoretical content is taught at the university and includes 41 study days, per year. The first year begins with a two-week introductory block.
For three days per week, apprentices are based in their own place of work, or they can be rotated to different departments depending on their employer’s needs. They also get to spend a full five week block per semester on an ‘away’ placement with a host organisation. This mix gives apprentices the opportunity to put their knowledge to the test in a variety of settings, as well as in their own workplace.
This programme is regulated by:
The Nursing Associate role
A comparison of the roles and responsibilities of a nursing associate versus a registered nurse (source: NMC)
|Be an accountable professional
|Be an accountable professional
|Promoting health and preventing ill health
|Promoting health and preventing ill health
|Provide and monitor care
|Provide and evaluate care
|Working in teams
|Leading and managing nursing care and
working in teams
|Improving safety and quality of care
|Improving safety and quality of care
|Contributing to integrated care
|Assessing needs and planning care
What are Higher Apprenticeships?
Higher apprenticeships are a fantastic way to upskill employees and train new staff. They contribute to improved competitiveness and productivity, as well as increased staff retention.
Apprentices study for higher level qualifications alongside working. As such, they spend at least 6 working hours each week carrying out ‘off-the-job training’ where they study for their qualification and gain the knowledge, skills and behaviours that are required to successfully complete the apprenticeship.
Large employers can use their apprenticeships levy to pay for apprenticeship training. Smaller firms can claim up to 95 per cent of these costs from the Government. This means apprenticeships are a cost-effective choice for both the employer and learner.
During Year 1, learners are introduced to the fundamentals of care and develop core skills and knowledge to underpin their working practices. This includes developing strategies to support their own resilience, so that they are able to deliver the best possible care to others.
Transition to Undergraduate Nursing Associate
This module prepares learners for their role as undergraduate Nursing Associates. It supports them to develop into independent learners with the skills they will need throughout their professional career. This includes academic skills such as critical thinking, questioning and arguing effectively, as well as life skills such as managing your emotions, self-care and work-life balance. The module also supports learners practically in their first placement. They cover numeracy, medicines management and clinical skills in university, and their practice assessor works with them to complete their Practice Assessment Document as evidence of their learning in practice.
Understanding Research to Inform Evidence-Based Practice
This module helps learners understand how research is conducted and underpins safe and effective practice and service-delivery. Learners develop critical thinking skills in relation to the evidence they will use to inform their practice as a reflective and accountable practitioner. The module also supports them practically in their second placement. Their will build on their numeracy, medicines management and clinical skills when at university and their practice assessor will work with them to complete their Practice Assessment Document as evidence of their continued learning in practice and professional development.
This module lays the foundations for how learners use the theory they have learnt to inform and enhance their practice. They learn the fundamentals of accountability and professionalism required by the NMC, as well as how to approach nursing care, building trusting relationships and communicating effectively with a wide range of other people including the people they care for, their carers, colleagues, and other members of the multidisciplinary team to ensure they can deliver safe and effective care.
Foundations of Anatomy and Physiology to Support Clinical Assessment Across the Lifespan
This module introduces learners to the structure and function of the human body. They will gain insight into how the body responds to internal and external influences and a range of illnesses, which are commonly seen in today’s communities. They will learn how to apply this knowledge to the assessment and care of someone who is acutely unwell either physically and/or mentally, or who is requiring end of life care.
In Year 2, Nursing Associates should be able to demonstrate their understanding of key concepts relating to patient care. These include risk and how to manage it in a clinical setting, the principles of shared decision making in healthcare practice, and the nurse’s role in supporting individuals with long term and complex needs.
Managing Risk and Sustainability in Health and Social Care
This module deepens understanding of the complexities of risk management and how it impacts individual patients and also the picture locally, nationally and globally. It guides learners to critically consider how risk legislation, regulation and local, national and global policy affects the delivery of safe, effective and sustainable health and social care. Nursing Associates will further develop numeracy, medicines management and clinical skills in university-based learning environments. Practice based learning experiences will provide opportunities for students to work towards completion of their Practice Assessment Document as evidence of their continued learning in practice and professional development.
Preparing to Become a Professional Registrant
This module will give students the tools to enter the profession as a Registered Nursing Associate, with confidence in their role within the interdisciplinary team. It also equips them with the skills to continue lifelong learning and development, and to consider how they contribute to improving practice. During the module students will consolidate their numeracy, medicines management and clinical skills in university-based learning environments. Practice based learning experiences will provide opportunities for Nursing Associates to complete their Practice Assessment Document as evidence of their continued learning in practice and professional development.
Promoting Health and Preventing Ill Health
This module aims to develop an understanding of the Nursing Associate role within the wider picture of health and social care and how the complexities of biopsychosocial systems impact the people being cared for. The module also explores the role of the Nursing Associate in relation to health promotion and preventing ill health in the population.
Exploring the Nursing Associate Role and Influencing Practice
This module allows learners to explore the different sources of health and social care policy and where they come from. They will investigate how the quality and effectiveness of care is evaluated in practice to support continuous development and improvement in the delivery of quality health and social care. They will be introduced to change theories and required to consider their role in supporting change to improve practice.
The end point assessment for this apprenticeship is integrated, meaning the apprentice is not required to undertake any additional assessments beyond the exams and assignments built into the programme.
This apprenticeship is based on the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s standards of proficiency and education programme standards. This means that those who successfully complete the apprenticeship will be eligible to apply for registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
“I have learnt so much in the last two years. Things about myself and who I am as a person, as well as knowledge and skills to take to my practice.”
Trainee Nursing Associate, April 2022 cohort
Teaching for this apprenticeship will start at Oxstalls Campus, then transfer to the new City Campus in Gloucester in the 2024-25 academic year. This provides time to ensure a smooth transition and familiarisation with the new facilities for all.
Our new City Campus is partly funded by Gloucester’s successful £20million ‘Levelling Up’ bid, the building is being refurbished to an exceptionally high standard and will include state-of-the-art facilities and equipment for all our learners.
We have also secured a landmark £29million in funding from Barclays linked to our commitment to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals: to recruit a higher proportion of UK-domiciled young BAME students; widen access, engagement and participation for students from deprived areas; and to reduce gas and electricity CO2 emissions as part of its commitment to Net Zero by 2030.
As part of its decarbonisation drive, the University has also secured £3.3million funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as part of its Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, delivered by Salix. The scheme aims to put the public sector at the forefront of decarbonising buildings in the UK.
As well as training the region’s future nurses and teachers, it is estimated that over its lifetime, City Campus will add over £300million of direct and indirect value to the county’s economy, as well as more than 4,000 jobs.
Employer and learner support
Learners have a personal tutor throughout their apprenticeship, as well as a learner coach who conducts reviews and supports them towards successful completion. They are also supported by module tutors and our Helpzone staff, who are contactable by telephone, in person and online.
Employers are able to access our dedicated apprenticeship support team, who are here to ensure that businesses get the best from both the learner and the programme.
All apprentices have access to:
· experienced professionals, who are experts in their field
· state-of-the-art facilities
· all university libraries and IT and facilities
· discounted travel with Stagecoach across the South West network
· an NUS card offering great discounts at restaurants and high street stores
· a vibrant social scene complete with bars, sports clubs, gyms and leisure facilities
View our apprenticeships FAQ guide and discover answers to the most commonly asked questions about higher and degree apprenticeships.
Identifying candidates who will succeed on the apprenticeship is a joint activity between the employer and the University. While the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that applicants meet entry requirements rests with the University, applicants for this programme are normally nominated by their employer.
Apprentices joining this programme must hold the following qualifications:
Level 2 English and Maths qualifications
- GCSE Grade 4 – 9
- GCSE Grade A – C
- Level 2 Functional Skills
Employers are responsible for ensuring apprentices meet occupational health requirements and have passed appropriate vetting procedures, which may include a Disclosure and Barring Service Check and right to work check. We will ask for evidence of this to be submitted as part of the selection process.
Apprentices will have been identified by the organisation as being able to succeed on the programme, and employers may set additional entry requirements as part of the selection process prior to assessment for entry by the University.
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