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HCAs and APs

HCAs and APs

Health care assistants and assistant practitioners are hugely valued members of the nursing workforce.

Health care assistants (HCAs) and assistant practitioners (APs) are hugely valued members of the RCN and the nursing team. Although there are a wide range of titles used to describe these roles, we have chosen to encompass all of these under the titles HCA and AP.

The RCN is the ‘go to’ organisation for all members of the nursing team. We understand your needs better than anyone else, whether you aspire to develop your career or remain in your support role and be the best you can be in that role. We’re here every step of the way.

HCAs quick links

First Steps

First Steps is the RCN’s most popular free e-learning tool for health care assistants. It’s a perfect resource to dip in and out of, whether you’re new to the post or looking to refresh your knowledge and skills.

Fundamental skills

As part of lifelong learning and increasing confidence in your role you might want to develop your English and Maths. There are some free online resources that will be able to help you. 

If you prefer free face to face learning you can contact learndirect or the Workers' Educational Association for more information.

HCAs and APs subject guide


Front cover of spring 2017 issue of RCN Health+Care
13 Mar 2017

RCN Health+Care: Spring 2017 (Current Issue)

This issue of RCN Health+Care includes articles on nursing associates and where they fit in the health care support workforce, workplace bullying and tips on continence care.


RCN membership

If you provide health or social care under the guidance and supervision of a registered nurse, midwife or health visitor and are not on a professional register you could be eligible to join the RCN.

Join the RCN