NMC Nursing Associates (NA) in Training – Recommended Title Change: From Trainee NA (TNA) to Student NA (SNA)

Shared on behalf of NHSE

Re: NMC Nursing Associates (NA) in Training – Recommended Title

We are writing to inform you that following conversations with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), it has been reiterated the importance of recognising the recommended title for a learner on an NMC approved programme leading to registration as a nursing associate.

Since the nursing associate role was first launched in 2017 using the legacy Health Education England curriculum the adopted title at that time was “Trainee Nursing Associate” (TNA).  We also know that some organisations adopted the title “Apprenticeship Nursing Associate” (ANA), because of the apprenticeship route of the training programme.

In 2019 the NMC approved all regulatory elements of the nursing associate education and training, moving the curriculum from HEE to the NMC’s Standards for nursing associates which refers to students throughout.  Below are the listed reasons why the NMC have recommended that we use the “Student Nursing Associate” (SNA) for any nursing associate education programme, going forward:

  • At the NMC we use the term ‘student nursing associate’ / ‘nursing associate students. The reason for this is to ensure that the public are in no doubt about who is who when receiving care from someone. When they receive care by a student nursing associate or that the student nursing associate has participated in their care, they know that this person is a student nursing associate on an NMC-approved programme that leads to registration as a nursing associate. This is important for public protection.
  • Student nursing associates are supervised under the NMC’s Standards for Student Supervision and Assessment  (SSSA). This refers to nursing associate students throughout and specifically in section 6.6. The word ‘trainee’ is not mentioned.
  • Nursing associate students are educated, as opposed to trained, and there is an expectation of underpinning knowledge and being an accountable professional.
  • Whatever programme a student nursing associate is on it leads to the same qualification – Nursing Associate is a protected title. If a student nursing associate is on an apprentice route this is indicated in the programme title – this should satisfy the need for them to be identified as an apprentice.
  • Non apprentice and apprentice students are working towards the same qualification and assessed under the same standards – they should have the same title.
  • Many, but not all embarking on NA programmes is doing so from their place of work and it is beneficial for their colleagues and their patients/service users if it was very clear when they were ‘learning’ and not just ‘practising’.

We fully appreciate the implication this will have within the various organisations including NHS Trusts, Primary Care, Social Care, Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) and other Private, Independent, Third-Party Organisations (PITOs).  We are also working closely with other NHS England regional leads to ensure that this update is communicated effectively.

While reinforcing this is the preferred term, we also understand the costs which could be incurred from making the changes to the relevant literature and information including the various media platforms, websites, and other official documents.  We are not asking anyone to do anything that wastes their time or money, but to keep it in mind for next time when materials are being updated. However, the language we use when speaking to each other has no cost and it is a worthy reminder of all the reasons we have discussed for clearly identifying a student nursing associate .

We kindly ask that you work with your organisation to ensure that this information is shared with the relevant staff groups or teams.

If you have any further questions, please contact us at england.tnaenquiries.london@nhs.net or visit the NMC website: https://www.nmc.org.uk/about-us/our-role/who-we-regulate/nursing-associates/