Nursing Associate Role Will Not Be 'Nursing on the Cheap,' Says Chief Nursing Officer
The Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) for England has dismissed claims that the new nursing associate role is a cheaper way of filling nursing positions.
Following criticism from the trade union Unison that the role represented 'nursing on the cheap' and concerns expressed by the Royal College of Nursing about how quickly the role had been developed, CNO Jane Cummings moved to dispel fears.
She stated that the introduction of the nursing associate role will mean nurses would have more time available to treat complex issues and provide better patient care.
"Critics have suggested that this is a cheap replacement for nurses," said Professor Cummings. "This is not and must not be the case.
"This is an opportunity for thousands of talented people to take the first step on the ladder - not just to a job, but a rewarding lifelong career.
"A nursing associate is not a registered nurse and will not replace them, but they will instead have the training and skills to bridge between what a healthcare assistant can do and what a registered nurse is now needed to do,"
She went on to say that nursing associate numbers would hinge on patient need, so in environments such as A&E where patients require intensive clinical care, the ratio of registered nurses to nursing associates would be higher.
However, in areas where less complex care was required, she acknowledged that there would be more nursing associates as this would free up registered nurses to be where they are required most urgently.
Approximately 2000 trainee nursing associates would be introduced to the workforce by mid-2017, according to an announcement made in May.
The announcement came after a public consultation held between January 28th and March 12th, in which concerns were raised over patients confusing those in the new post with registered nurses.