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Nursing Associate Programme

The Nursing Associate Programme combines academic study and work-based learning to develop individuals who are prepared to meet the healthcare needs of patients and service users across a range of acute, primary and community health and social care settings.

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Block teaching designed around you

You deserve a positive teaching and learning experience, where you feel part of a supportive and nurturing community. That’s why most students will enjoy an innovative approach to learning using block teaching, where you will study one module at a time. You’ll benefit from regular assessments - rather than lots of exams at the end of the year - and a simple timetable that allows you to engage with your subject and enjoy other aspects of university life such as sports, societies, meeting friends and discovering your new city. By studying with the same peers and tutor for each block, you’ll build friendships and a sense of belonging.

Read more about block teaching


This two-year apprenticeship programme is validated by DMU and delivered at the Leicestershire School of Nursing Associates, based at Glenfield Hospital. 

This is an exciting new programme of study for those already employed as Health Care Assistants who are interested in developing their career and becoming a Registered Nursing Associate.

Nursing is an evolving profession and the Nursing Associate role forms an integral part of the nursing family, working as part of a team around the patient. The position is an opportunity for those who want to progress their careers in the field of health and social care.

While on this programme of study, trainee Nursing Associates will be prepared to provide high quality, holistic, person-centred care to individuals under the leadership and direction of a level one registered nurse. You will be trained to employ professional judgement to ensure that the degree of autonomy you exercise is always within the parameters of your scope of practice.

You will be equipped with a breadth of knowledge and understanding and a flexible, portable skillset to use in a wide range of health and care settings, all while demonstrating professional values and behaviours.

You will also develop strong, positive and therapeutic working relationships between professional partners, patients, families and carers. Working individually and with others, you will play a part in reducing unwarranted variation in health and care and in ensuring that the right care is delivered in the right place, at the right time.

During the programme the trainee Nursing Associate (TNA) will be employed at a Band 3.

Find out more about the national Nursing Associate Programme

Key features

  • This programme provides the opportunity to work as a Band 3 employee while also studying an academically accredited programme.
  • Have the opportunity to rotate into other work areas and placements within your employing organisation for up to 15 weeks per year, providing the opportunity to view to care within a range of contexts.
  • Gain registered nursing associate status with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
  • Delivered by a dedicated team of practitioners from across healthcare providers in Leicestershire.
  • Our suite of courses have been designed and delivered through strong partnerships between academics, clinicians and healthcare professionals, providing you with the best possible learning experience and the ability to keep up-to-date with the best clinical practices.


More courses like this

Adult Nursing BSc (Hons) with NMC Registration

Child Nursing BSc (Hons) with NMC Registration

Learning Disabilities Nursing BSc (Hons) with NMC Registration

Mental Health Nursing BSc (Hons) with NMC Registration

  • UK
  • EU/International

Institution code: D26

UCAS course code: N/A

Duration: 2 years

Location: The Leicestershire School of Nursing Associates, Glenfield Hospital, UK.

This course is not currently available to international students.


Entry criteria

To apply for the programme you must also have:

  • A substantive HCA post (or similar care worker post)
  • Have the full support of your line manager 
  • Be able to work a minimum of 30 hours a week 
  • GCSE in Mathematics and English Language at either Grade C or above (old style grades) or Grade 4-9 new style grades

  • OR Functional Skills Level 2 in mathematics and English or equivalent (not entry level 2)


Prior to applying confirmation will be sought from your line manager that they understand and accept the commitment to the Programme.

On interview all candidates will be asked to complete a numeracy and literacy test.


Structure and assessment


Course modules

Teaching and assessments

Supervision and support



First Year

  • Professional Values and Scope of Practice
  • Delivering Care
  • Person Centred Care
  • Communication and Interpersonal Skills
  • Work Based Learning Portfolio 

Second Year

  • Duty of Care, Candour, Equality and Diversity
  • Research, Development and Leadership
  • Team Working and Leadership
  • Supporting Learning and Assessment in Practice
  • Work Based Learning Portfolio

A wide range of teaching and learning methods are used on this programme including:

  • Case studies to ensure that trainees are able to link the underpinning theory to the patient/client group within their own practice setting
  • Guest lecturing to ensure that all practice areas can be represented to support the trainees’ ability to develop knowledge specific their areas
  • Simulation which facilitates the learning of new skills within a safe environment and allows trainees to have an understanding of some situations which may be rarely seen within practice
  • Scenarios to ensure that trainees relate theory to practical experiences
  • Small group work to enable the deeper exploration of topics within smaller groups
  • Action learning sets to enable trainees to develop an effective relationship with individuals from across different settings to share knowledge and experience; it is anticipated that action learning sets will remain unchanged throughout the programme
  • Workshops to develop specific learning around a key topic e.g. sample collection
  • Reflection to ensure that trainees learn from prior experiences and develop action plans to address learning needs
  • Student presentations to develop confidence in relaying information to others
  • Focused tutorials to ensure that trainees are prepared for assessments. This aims to facilitate the trainees’ ability to integrate theory with practice and meet the diverse needs of the group include teaching methods, programme study, teaching hours, personal study

Trainees will be assessed through work-based learning and a variety of academic assessments such as exams, reflective writing, essays, presentations and case studies.


What supervision do trainees need?

Trainees will need a registered healthcare professional to take the lead in supporting them through each placement experience (a Supervisor); they will need to be able to work alongside them and support trainees to access a range of opportunities to facilitate the achievement of outcomes.

Will trainees be supernumerary?

No. Trainees will still be employed and able to undertake their existing role; however they need to be supported to undertake learning in practice under the supervision of a registered professional which may mean that they have to be relieved of certain duties.

Pathway opportunities should be supported to enable trainees to experience and understand the patient journey.

Facilities and features

Facilities and features

This programme is delivered at the Leicestershire School of Nursing Associates, based at Glenfield Hospital. Trainees will be given access to the Clinical Library facilities on each of the three sites within University Hospitals Leicester.

There is also a simulation suite for supporting both adult and child simulation clinical skills. Trainees are also encouraged to use the facilities available at DMU including the library and student services and to engage with the activities of the Student Union.

Students will be given full online access to resources such as DMU Library and the blackboard learning environment.

Library and learning zones


On campus, the main Kimberlin Library offers a space where you can work, study and access a vast range of print materials, with computer stations, laptops, plasma screens and assistive technology also available. 

As well as providing a physical space in which to work, we offer online tools to support your studies, and our extensive online collection of resources accessible from our Library website, e-books, specialised databases and electronic journals and films which can be remotely accessed from anywhere you choose. 

We will support you to confidently use a huge range of learning technologies, including the Virtual Learning Environment, Collaborate Ultra, DMU Replay, MS Teams, Turnitin and more. Alongside this, you can access LinkedIn Learning and learn how to use Microsoft 365, and study support software such as mind mapping and note-taking through our new Digital Student Skills Hub. 

The library staff offer additional support to students, including help with academic writing, research strategies, literature searching, reference management and assistive technology. There is also a ‘Just Ask’ service for help and advice, live LibChat, online workshops, tutorials and drop-ins available from our Learning Services, and weekly library live chat sessions that give you the chance to ask the library teams for help.


More flexible ways to learn

We offer an equitable and inclusive approach to learning and teaching for all our students. Known as the Universal Design for Learning (UDL), our teaching approach has been recognised as sector leading. UDL means we offer a wide variety of support, facilities and technology to all students, including those with disabilities and specific learning differences.

Just one of the ways we do this is by using ‘DMU Replay’ – a technology providing all students with anytime access to audio and/or visual material of lectures. This means students can revise taught material in a way that suits them best, whether it's replaying a recording of a class or adapting written material shared in class using specialist software.


Opportunities and careers

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During the two-year programme trainees must experience placements in different settings, including care in hospital, care closer to home and care at home, to be able to evidence the transferability of their skills.

These will take place three times a year in five week blocks and will be planned into each individual programme to ensure that any pre-agreed annual leave is considered. Annual leave cannot be taken during these weeks.

Pathways will be included within these experiences to ensure that trainees explore the patient journey.

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Graduate Careers

This is an exciting new programme of study for those already employed as Health Care Assistants who are interested in developing their career and becoming a Registered Nursing Associate (RNA).

On successful completion of the programme nursing associates will transfer onto band 4 Nursing Associate posts within the area they have been seconded from.

Nursing Associates will also be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

In the future there may be opportunities for RNAs to go on to study at academic level 6 and become Registered Nurses.


Further information

If you have any other questions or would like to discuss supporting the programme, please contact Annabel Coulson, Programme Leader on:



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