What is a nursing associate?
Nursing associate is a relatively new role, which bridges the gap between health and care assistants and registered nurses. Nursing associates work in many health and social care settings, from hospitals to care homes, hospices, GP practices and community services.
Responsibilities vary depending on the care setting you work in, but your duties are likely to include:
- performing and recording clinical observations such as blood pressure, temperature, respirations and pulse
- undertaking clinical tasks including venepuncture and ECGs
- supporting people when they are faced with unwelcome news and life-changing diagnoses
- discussing and sharing information with other professionals on a patients’ condition, behaviour, activity and assessments
- ensuring the privacy, dignity and safety of individuals is maintained at all times
- recognising issues to do with safeguarding vulnerable children and adults
Key benefits of this course
- Learn about all four fields of nursing so you can find out where your passions and talents lie
- Get the qualification you need to become a Registered Nursing Associate (a title protected by law) and/or use this course as a step towards becoming a Registered Nurse
- Study in Derby or Chesterfield
- Spend 50% of your time on placement and 50% of your time at university
- This is a well-established course. In fact, we were one of the first institutions to run a nursing associate programme
Is this course for me?
This is a two-year course that requires you to study full-time. If you would prefer to train while you are working, you could look for a Nursing Associate Apprenticeship with an employer, and then follow our equivalent apprenticeship programme.
People usually take this course for one of the following reasons:
- They want to become a Registered Nursing Associate
- They want to become a Registered Nurse but don’t yet have the qualifications to get onto one of the full nursing degrees
- They want to become a Registered Nurse but don’t yet know which area to specialise in, so they want to experience all four areas of nursing first
These are all good reasons to take this course! After completing this foundation degree, you could join one of our full nursing degrees in year two and complete that within 18 months.
Our Derby campus and Chesterfield site both offer outstanding learning environments. They include replica wards, treatment rooms, and a state-of-the-art Immersive Suite, which simulates the sights and sounds of different care settings - such as the inside of an ambulance, a busy A&E ward, or an operating theatre. It’s as close to the real thing as you can get, and will help prepare you for placements. You will use these facilities periodically throughout year one and two.
In tune with latest developments
This course is closely mapped against the needs of employers. In delivering the programme we respond to national changes, such as latest government policies, to ensure your learning is up-to-date and relevant.
As health care is increasingly delivered by multi-professional teams, we offer opportunities at each stage of the course for you to learn with, and from, students from other disciplines. This is really important in preparing you to work in more flexible ways after graduation. By learning to work together, you can help achieve the best outcomes for your patients.
Higher Technical Qualification
This programme has been recognised as a Higher Technical Qualification, which means it has been developed by awarding bodies in collaboration with employers, so you'll get the right training, knowledge, and skills to succeed in the workplace.
Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.
At least 50% of your time will be spent on placement in both years. This is so you can build up the clinical skills required to meet the Nursing and Midwifery Council Standards of Proficiency for Nursing Associates. Placements happen throughout the course, so that you alternate between learning the theory at university and then gaining experience on placement.
We aim to provide a variety of placements. For instance, you could be placed in hospitals, GP practices, care/nursing homes, or with community-based teams, such as school nurses or mental health crisis teams. You will have a Practice Assessor and Supervisor on each placement who will provide guidance, support, and valuable feedback.
Please be aware that you are expected to travel up to 90 minutes each way to get to a placement, and to work the shift hours set by that organisation.
During your time at university, you will learn through lectures, scenario-based learning sessions, tutorials, seminars, debates, and practice-based workshops. You will be asked to consider different cases and say what you would do, share your own experiences, and listen and learn from other trainees.
How you are assessed
Assessment approaches are varied and include poster presentations, exam, essays, assignments, case based discussions and practical skills assessments.
Who you will meet
Our teaching team includes experts in all four areas of nursing. All are qualified health professionals, with years of experience in nursing and leadership roles within health and social care. They have strong links with the local NHS trusts as well as with smaller health and social care providers, and this will really benefit you when it comes to finding placements.
"I found the staff were very supportive and wanted everyone to thrive. I really feel like the staff took a great person-centred approach with students.” Emma Macukiewicz, Nursing Associate student
Personal academic tutoring
Your personal academic tutor will work with you to help you get the most out of your time at university. Having someone to talk to about your academic progress, your university experience and your professional aspirations is hugely valuable. We want you to feel challenged in your studies, stretched but confident to achieve your academic and professional goals.
Find out more about personal academic tutoring
These are the typical qualification requirements for September 2023 entry.
|Requirement||What we're looking for|
|T Level||Pass (with C or above in the core)|
|GCSE||GCSE Maths and English Grade 4/Grade C (or above) or equivalent qualification|
|Access to HE||Pass Access to HE Diploma with 60 credits: 45 at Level 3 with a minimum of Distinction: 0, Merit: 30, Pass: 15|
Additional entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS: 6.5 (with at least 6.0 in each skills area)
2023/24 Fees (August 2023 - July 2024)
£9,250 per year
£14,045 per year
Further information about our fees and support you may be entitled to.
English language entry requirements must be achieved and evidenced as part of an application and before an interview can be offered for this programme.
If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.Contact us
Additional information about your studies
Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.
Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.
Please note that this course is subject to minimum numbers in order to run.