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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, and eligibility to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). 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 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.

Professional approval

Outstanding provision for higher apprenticeships
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Teesside University received the Nursing Associate Training Programme Provider of the Year at the Student Nursing Times Awards.
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Where you study

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


Supporting information for applicants

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


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

Anatomy, Physiology and Pathophysiology

The module will explore body systems, altered cognition, disability, illnesses and disease ensuring parity of content, engaging 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 module explores decision-making and therapeutic interventions within Nursing Associate practice across a range of health and social care settings. The module introduces 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

This module will explore 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 and/or treatment upon the person and family will be examined from the service user perspective.

Study Skills and Professionalism

The module will explore the knowledge and skills required to develop study skills, introduce reflective practice, and develop and understanding of professionalism and professional practice. Students will also be introduced to the theoretical concepts underpinning professional practice including self-awareness, resilience, and self-management. They will develop their understanding of the NMC Code, and the expectations placed upon them, and the principles of literature searching.


Year 2 core modules

An Introduction to Evidence Based Practice

An Introduction to Evidence Based Practice which is a module that underpins both your theory and practice and provides you with information regarding research into your area of work and rationale for why you carry out the care in certain ways.

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

This module aims to develop the student's knowledge and understanding of acute and long-term conditions across the health and social care sector. Students will also explore and understand the impact of co-morbidities on patient experience and outcomes. A biopsychosocial approach to the module will ensure students 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

This module provides opportunity for the Nursing Associate to explore 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 will be undertaken to identify areas of need for service users, communities, and the wider population.

Enhancing Professional Practice for the Nursing Associate

This module further develops the Nursing Associates knowledge and skills for practice. It enables students to build upon 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 comprises of work-based learning within their primary placement area and placements within other practice areas. The student's placement journey will provide learning opportunities in a variety of settings, including experience in child and adult patients, and service users with mental health conditions and learning disabilities.

Working in Teams

This module will develop 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 will be 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. 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.

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 support in practice.

To be awarded the higher apprenticeship you are 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

Find out more about financial support
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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 must:

  • have completed a Level 2 maths and Level 2 English Language qualification
  • be currently, or on entry to the course, employed as a nursing associate apprenticeship in a health or care role (full-time)
  • demonstrate the appropriate values and attitudes for the programme in line with The NMC values and behaviours.

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 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in writing alongside a minimum of 7.0 in reading, listening and speaking.

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements

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. Your primary placement area is the place where you are employed. You will undertake a minimum of 460 hours in placement external to your area of employment.

Career opportunities

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



Entry to 2021/22 academic year

Fee for UK applicants

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