Undergraduate study

Course overview

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. 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. A practice mentor and academic tutor support you throughout your studies. Alongside your own workplace, you experience placements within a variety of settings including hospital, home and care close to home.

You study this full-time course over 90 weeks in two years. The course is divided into two equal stages and you complete 45 weeks of work-based learning each year. The taught component of the course, delivered at the University, includes a two-week induction period followed by one day a week university time. From week 3 of the course, you normally work 30 hours a week in practice.The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is the regulator for Nursing Associates, in England. This course will be redesigned for future intakes to meet the pre-registration requirements of the NMC.

Professional approval

Outstanding provision for higher apprenticeships
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Where you study

Centre for Professional and Executive Development (CPED): Teesside University’s Darlington Campus

Supporting information for applicants

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Course details

You develop 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 your current practice. You go on to develop your skills and understanding, promoting evidence-based practice and professional nursing care. The subjects you study inform your 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 you to develop your knowledge, skills, professional conduct, values and attitudes that are relevant and important to your work-based role as a nursing associate. You complete a module which helps you develop your study skills and gives you an introduction to learning in the University. This module also helps you to prepare for your assessments within the course.

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

Course structure

Year 1 core modules

An introduction to Anatomy and Pathophysiology

This core module gives you the opportunity to develop a basic knowledge of human anatomy and physiology as part of your foundation year. It focuses on the concept of homeostasis – how all systems work in harmony. The content is delivered using a systems approach across a range of body systems.

Fundamentals of Practice for the Nursing Associate

Introduction to Person-Centred Care, Knowledge and Skills for Practice

Introduction to the Role of the Nursing Associate

Learning to Learn: An Introduction to Academic Study Skills

This module runs over three days in the first few weeks of the programme. You are introduced to the skills required for academic study including IT skills, academic writing, study habits, searching literature and using evidence.


Year 2 core modules

Developing the Nursing Associate’s Knowledge, Skills and Decision-making for Person-centred Care

Enhancing Practice for the Nursing Associate

Exploring the Role of the Nursing Associate when Caring for People with Acute and Long-term Conditions

Understanding Evidence-based Practice

This module introduces you to the process of research appraisal. You will also look at the benefits of evidence-based practice and current policy influencing the development and delivery of healthcare.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

The course is delivered through either a standard delivery pattern or block delivery pattern.

Standard delivery - during the first two weeks of the course are block delivery, meaning you study from 9.00am – 5.00pm, Monday to Friday. You then complete one day of study day a week across the two-year course, either at the University or through guided independent study. The course combines and integrates both academic and work-based learning through close collaboration between employers and the University. You are encouraged to take responsibility for your own learning from the start of the course with support from the teaching team and within practice. You learn in a range of ways including lectures, seminars, practical skills sessions, group work, and an IT skills laboratory. You can also access our virtual learning environment, allowing you to engage with the learning and tutors whilst in the workplace.

Block delivery - this is delivered in the University over five one-week blocks in Year 1 and three one-week blocks in Year 2. The remainder of the years is spent in clinical practice.

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. You can access academic support through the course and you also have a practice mentor.

In addition to completing assessments as part of the course, your employer also assesses your professional competencies on an ongoing basis. You must also pass an overall higher apprenticeship end point assessment.

To be awarded the higher apprenticeship you are required to successfully complete all assessment elements.

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

Find out more about financial support
Find out more about our course related costs


Entry requirements

Entry requirements

You should be highly motivated towards a career as a nursing associate within the health and care setting. You should have excellent communication skills and be able to demonstrate evidence of literacy and numeracy. Applicants need to meet the criteria for admission stipulated within the nursing associate national curriculum.

Applicants must:

  • demonstrate the ability to work at Level 2 literacy and numeracy
  • be currently, or on entry to the course, employed as a trainee nursing associate in a health or care role (full-time)
  • demonstrate the appropriate values and attitudes for the programme in line with Health Education England’s value-based recruitment course.

All candidates are interviewed by representatives from Teesside University and the organisation within which they are to be employed.

All candidates must have a satisfactory enhanced DBS disclosure.

IELTS requirements:
International applicants must demonstrate an IELTS score of 7 (cannot score less than 6.5 in any section).

For additional information please see the entry requirements in our admissions section

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 including hospital, home and care close to home. Your primary placement (where you are employed) is based in one of these settings. You will also experience at least one other placement, in each of the other areas to meet the requirements of the course. Placements are arranged by your employer and cover a total of 675 hours across the two-year course.

Career opportunities

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



Entry to 2019/20 academic year

What is included in your tuition fee?

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  • News

    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.

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