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Job description guidance

Guidance for employers on nursing associates

This guidance and template person specification have been developed in partnership by stakeholders involved in developing the nursing associate role.

This guidance and template person specification have been developed in partnership by organisations involved in developing the nursing associate role.

This guidance reflects feedback from employers involved in nursing associate test site partnerships across England, including drawing on examples of job descriptions already developed.

This version of the guidance document contains NHS specific language in regards to job matching. A separate guidance document for non-NHS employers will also be available. The job specification and prompt questions remains constant across all guidance.

‘Having an up-to-date, agreed job description is essential in ensuring that employees and their line managers/employers have a common understanding of what is required of a job. The required information is generally set out in the form of a list of job duties, after a statement describing the key purpose of the role. Person specifications are usually drawn up to support recruitment as they list the key skills, knowledge and attributes needed for the job. The skills and attributes listed as essential in the person specification MUST be relevant to the duties required of the job.’ – NHS Staff Council Job Evaluation Handbook.

  • The nursing associate role will be deployed in a wide range of settings and services across health and social care in England. For this reason, there can be no prescriptive ‘national’ job description for nursing associates. Employers will need to develop their job descriptions to meet particular needs, but this must happen in a way that maintains consistency in deployment of the role across England.
  • Employers will need to design job descriptions for nursing associates that reflect the intended deployment of the role, specific to their organisation and setting, referencing the expected competencies required of the post, taken from the NMC Standards of Proficiency skills annexes. These may also include additional knowledge, skills and competences that are required of the post, through appropriate post-registration education and training.
  • Relying on a generic job description that fails to capture the detail of the specific deployment of the nursing associate role creates risks of misunderstanding and uncertainty about how the post holder should be deployed, managed and developed. It also makes it difficult to ensure that the job is matched and banded correctly.

  • This guidance provides prompt questions to help you consider the specific responsibilities and expectations of the post, specific to the organisation and setting it is being deployed into. These should be considered alongside the specific competencies and skills nursing associates will have achieved at the point of registration, as set out in the Standards of Proficiency.
  • The template person specification has been built based on the NMC Standards of Proficiency and acts as a skeleton of key criteria, to be built upon with local requirements based on the local job description.
  • Where a role includes specific additional competences, the job description and person specification should reflect how these will be used and at what level (e.g. medicines administration). The person specification should capture the essential training and any qualifications that are required in order to demonstrate this competence.
  • We recommend that employers consult and involve staff and their union representatives in drawing up their nursing associate job descriptions.

  • Banding decisions require an agreed job description which employers, in partnership with their staff side unions, must ensure is matched and consistency-checked in line with the procedures laid out in the Job Evaluation handbook, using the national job profiles. The combined nursing job profiles are the natural place to start.
  • Job profiles work on the basis that there are posts in the NHS which are standard and have many common features, and therefore have broad labels which are not meant to indicate job titles. Jobs with different titles may be matched to job the same profile. For more information on job profiles and job matching, please refer to the NHS Job Evaluation Handbook.
  • You may wish to review your locally developed nursing associate job description in the context of your existing job descriptions for health and care assistants and for registered nurses (if you employ these) to make sure you feel that your newly developed job description occupies the right space.

Below we have provided a range of questions aligned to the six platforms from the NMC’s Standards of Proficiency for Nursing Associates. Answering these questions regarding the post you are recruiting to will provide you with the content required to describe how this role will be deployed and an expectation of how they will operate within your organisation. You may wish to refer to specific tasks and expectations set out in Annexe A and Annexe B (provided as an appendix to this document) of the Standards of Proficiency.

To reflect your organisation’s local recruitment approach, you may also wish to add in further sections to your job description which set out organisation-specific information such as values and corporate responsibilities or expectations.

1. Being an accountable professional

  • Who is the nursing associate accountable to?
  • Who might the nursing associate receive delegation from?
  • Who might the nursing associate delegate to? (Consider for example, health care support workers, family members and lay carers).
  • Consider including chart to show routes for escalation of concerns.

2. Promoting health and preventing ill health

  • What tasks or responsibilities will the individual have in preventing ill health and promoting health?
  • Will they be responsible for administering immunisations, using behaviour change interventions to support health and wellness (for example, NHS health checks) or actions to prevent and control infection?

3. Providing and monitoring care

  • How will they contribute to the ongoing assessment of care?
  • What will be the post’s responsibilities in relation to recognising when to refer to senior colleagues for reassessment of care?
  • How will they contribute to the evaluation of care?
  • Does the post require any specialist communication and relationship skills?
  • Does the post have any specific responsibilities for monitoring people’s conditions?
  • Does the post require any specific clinical or therapeutic skills?
  • Will they need to use any specialist equipment or devices?
  • Does the post have medicines administration responsibilities?
  • How will they escalate any concerns?

4. Working in teams

  • Which team will the nursing associate belong to and liaise with?
  • Will the nursing associate have any particular lead responsibility areas for their team?
  • Who will the nursing associate support and supervise with their learning and development (consider for example trainee nursing associates, apprentices, health care support workers and those new to care roles, for example, those undertaking the care certificate)?
  • Will the nursing associate supervise other staff or volunteers?
  • How will the nursing associate be involved in assessment of competences for any staff or volunteers?
  • Who might the nursing associate delegate to? (Consider for example, health care support workers, family members and lay carers)
  • Will the nursing associate have a specific lead or specialist area of responsibility within their team?

5. Improving safety and quality of care

  • What will the nursing associate’s role be in maintaining and improving care? Consider research and evaluation, quality improvement strategies.
  • How will the nursing associate have a specific role with regard to improving safety and maintaining a safe environment, for example participation in audit, health and safety activities?
  • How will the nursing associate escalate any risks or safeguarding concerns?
  • Will the nursing associate have any specific or specialist responsibilities for safeguarding?

6. Contributing to integrated care

  • Are there other teams or agencies that the post will make and receive referrals to or from, or co-ordinate care with?
  • What will be the post’s responsibilities and tasks relating to these teams or agencies?
  • What will their responsibilities be in relation to the transfer of care between professionals, settings or services?

  • This template provides suggested criteria for the recruitment of nursing associates. The criteria listed below are extrapolated from the NMC Standards of Proficiency for the role.
  • The content below will help to support greater consistency across England in the recruitment of nursing associates.
  • You will need to add in further, specific criteria based on the setting and expectations of the role, as described in your job description.

View the template.