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Undergraduate study
Nursing & Health

Nursing Associate, Higher Apprenticeship FdSc

Developed in consultation with senior managers and employers to meet the education and training needs of care support workers, this course can lead to employment as a nursing associate, and eligibility to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).


Professional apprenticeship
Linked Level 5 University award: Foundation Degree Nursing Associate


Course overview


The higher apprenticeship recognises the workplace as a centre of knowledge building, and supports you by combining opportunities within the workplace and the University learning environment.

Through a range of modules, we support you in your continuing personal and professional development. Alongside your own workplace, you experience placements within a variety of settings covering the four fields of nursing, care across the age continuum and care in a variety of settings.

You study this full-time course over two years. The taught component of the course, delivered virtually through Microsoft Teams or at the University, includes an induction period followed by one day a week university time. In addition to the one day a week at the university there are four block weeks of teaching over the two years.

Please note, we can only respond to enquiries from employers, or individuals with agreement from their employer to undertake an apprenticeship.

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Where you study

Centre for Professional and Executive Development (CPED): Teesside University’s Darlington Campus. Modules are also
virtually taught over the two years.


Supporting information for applicants

Our School feedback policy (word - 278kb)
Our School reference policy (word - 276kb)


Course details

The apprentice develops the knowledge and understanding of the role of the nursing associate to promote person-centred care in a diverse range of health and care settings and enhance the underpinning rationale of their current practice. The apprentice develops their skills and understanding, promoting evidence-based practice and professional nursing care. The subjects they study inform their practice, such as the nursing associate role, professionalism, consent and confidentiality, communication skills, infection control, anatomy and pathophysiology, specialist skills and knowledge relating to nursing care management.

A variety of modules help the apprentice develop their knowledge, skills, professional conduct, values and attitudes that are relevant and important to their work-based role as a nursing associate. They complete a module to develop their study skills and gain an introduction to learning in the University. This module also helps them to prepare for their course assessments.

In addition to completing assessments as part of the course, you as the employer also assesses the apprentice's professional competencies on an ongoing basis.

Course structure

Year 1 core modules

Anatomy, Physiology and Pathophysiology

The apprentice explores body systems, altered cognition, disability, illnesses and disease ensuring parity of content. They engage all four fields of nursing practice, utilising a whole person approach with the emphasis on the complexity of the individual.

Introduction to Public Health for Nursing Associates

This apprentice explores decision-making and therapeutic interventions within Nursing Associate practice across a range of health and social care settings. The apprentice explores the relevant theories and influences linked to the wider determinants of health and wellbeing, developing the Nursing Associate's ability to facilitate an individual's health journey across the lifespan using a biopsychosocial approach.

Person-centered Care – the service user experience

The apprentice explores the philosophical basis and key concepts underpinning approaches to working with different people and service user groups. The biopsychosocial experience and impact of altered health and well-being, physical illness, cognition or treatment of the person and family is examined from the service user perspective.

Study Skills and Professionalism

The apprentice explores the knowledge and skills to develop study skills, introduce reflective practice, and develop and understanding of professionalism and professional practice. They are also introduced to the theoretical concepts underpinning professional practice including self-awareness, resilience, and self-management. They develop their understanding of the NMC Code, and the expectations placed on them, and the principles of literature searching.


Year 2 core modules

An Introduction to Evidence Based Practice

The module underpins the apprentice's theory and practice and provides them with information regarding research into their area of work and rationale for why they carry out the care in certain ways.

Caring for People with Acute and Long-term Conditions and Co-morbidities

The apprentice develops their knowledge and understanding of acute and long-term conditions across the health and social care sector. They also explore the impact of co-morbidities on patient experience and outcomes. A biopsychosocial approach to the module ensures apprentices consider the whole patient with consideration for assessment and safe management of all service users, across all health and social care settings.

Developing Public Health in Practice for Nursing Associates

The Nursing Associate explores Public Health inequalities within health and social care practice. Appraisal of epidemiological and demographic data in addition to the national and local public health policies is undertaken to identify areas of need for service users, communities, and the wider population.

Enhancing Professional Practice for the Nursing Associate

The Nursing Associates further develops their knowledge and skills for practice. They build on their clinical skills base and ability to select and use best available evidence to support their decision-making in practice according to their role. The module is work-based learning within their primary placement area and placements within other practice areas. The learner's placement journey provides learning opportunities in a variety of settings, including experience of child and adult patients, and service users with mental health conditions and learning disabilities.

Working in Teams

The apprentice develops a comprehensive understanding of the unique perspectives, knowledge, and skills of the people they work with, and different members of the health and social care team. This knowledge is used to promote positive people-centred outcomes through collaborative and integrated working and further understanding of the Nursing Associate's scope of practice.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

The course is delivered through either a standard delivery pattern (typically one day a week in the University) or block delivery pattern (five block weeks in each year at the University). The remainder of the working week is spent in clinical practice and clinical placements.

The course combines and integrates both academic and work-based learning through close collaboration between employers and the University. The apprentice is encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning from the start of the course with support from the teaching team and within practice. They learn in a range of ways including lectures, seminars, practical skills sessions, group work, and an IT skills laboratory. They can also access our virtual learning environment, allowing them to engage with the learning and tutors in the workplace.

How you are assessed

Each module is assessed individually and we use a wide range of approaches including essays, exams, presentations and work-based competencies. The apprentice can access academic support through the course and they also have support in practice.

To be awarded the higher apprenticeship, the learner is required to successfully complete all assessment elements and undertake an end-point assessment.

Our Disability Services team provide an inclusive and empowering learning environment and have specialist staff to support disabled students access any additional tailored resources needed. If you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism, sensory impairment, chronic health condition or any other disability please contact a Disability Services as early as possible.
Find out more about our disability services


Entry requirements

Entry requirements

To be accepted on to a degree apprenticeship course you must have support from your employer and meet the course entry requirements.

Apprentices will
> be currently, or on entry to the course, employed as an apprentice Trainee Nursing Associate
> hold Level 2 qualifications in English and maths before starting their apprenticeship. Find out more.
> demonstrate the appropriate values and attitudes for the programme through an interview with you as the employer and University
> work a minimum of 30 hours
> have a satisfactory enhanced DBS disclosure

You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL



Work placement

Trainee nursing associates experience placements within a variety of settings. The primary placement area is the place where they are employed. They undertake a minimum of 460 hours in placement external to their area of employment.

Career opportunities

Nursing associate roles and career progression for those who wish to access future pre-registration nursing courses.


Professional approval

Outstanding provision for higher apprenticeships
Find out more

Professional apprenticeship

An apprenticeship combines vocational work-based learning with study for a university degree. Designed in partnership with employers, apprenticeships offer it all - a higher education qualification, a salary, and invaluable practical experience and employment skills.

Find out more


Entry to 2024/25 academic year

Fee for UK applicants

More details about our fees

What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 2 years plus 6 months end-point assessment
  • Start date: September

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  • Not available part-time
  • Student and graduate profiles

    Christopher Hirlam

    Christopher HirlamFdSc Nursing Associate, Higher Apprenticeship

    Chris has been working in nursing since 1997 and wanted to become the best version of himself. He felt that completing the FdSc Nursing Associate Higher Apprenticeship will help him progress in the field that he loves.

    Meet Christopher

    Carley Kane

    Carley KaneNursing Associate FDSC

    Carley's postive experience at Teesside has inspired her to keep learning

    Meet Carley

  • News

    Receiving the award for Nursing Associate Training Programme Provider of the Year (pre-registration). Link to View the pictures. Double success for Teesside University in annual nursing awards
    Teesside University is celebrating double success after scooping two awards at the Student Nursing Times Awards.

    Read the full story

    L-R: Hilary Garrett (Deputy Chief Nursing Officer for England), Christopher Bradshaw, Margaret Kitching (Chief Nurse NHS England and NHS Improvement), Matthew van Loo (Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader), Ruth Holt (Director of Nursing NHS England).. Link to View the pictures. Trainee nursing associate makes an impression at NHS conference
    One of the first trainee nursing associates studying at Teesside University has spoken at a national conference celebrating 70 years of the NHS.

    Read the full story


Service user and carer involvement

Service users and carers support all aspects of our students' lifecycle from recruitment to graduation.

Find out more

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UK students


Telephone: 01642 384389

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