Nursing Associates/Student Nursing Associates (SNA) (TNA – Student Nursing Associate (SNA) (TNA – Trainee Nursing Associate))

What the role can do

The Nursing associate is a new role developed in response to the Shape of Care Review (2015) to increase the capacity of the nursing workforce. The role bridges the gap between healthcare assistant (HCAs) and registered nurses. It also offers career development opportunities for current staff and offers an alternative route to becoming a registered nurse.

The NA role benefits, not only for the employee but also the employer. These include improved service delivery and patient care, improved staff retention through career progression, the ability to ‘grow your own’ nursing workforce and investing in a tried and tested training programme accredited by the NMC.

Nursing associates have to successfully complete a two year foundation degree to be registered with the NMC.

Nursing Associates have the breadth of knowledge and flexible, transferable skill set to serve the health needs of local communities. They cover the full life span and a range of care settings. Nursing Associates need to be adaptable, reliable, and consistent. In addition, they are required to demonstrate resilience, self-awareness and leadership skills.

All students must be supervised when learning. The level of supervision will depend on level or risk associated with the particular task or interventions, and the competence and confidence of the individual. Once registered NA can enhance their knowledge and skills within their scope of practice throughout their career, with the exception of prescribing.

Following completion of appropriate courses and competency, responsibilities could include some of the following:

Entry Requirements


Entry Requirements

To begin training as a Nursing Associate, Higher Education Institutions require evidence of the following qualifications:


• GCSE grade’s 9 to 4 (A to C) in Maths and English OR Functional Skills Level 2 in Maths and English.

• Completion of the Care Certificate OR working towards completing the certificate within the next 6 months.

• Experience of working within a healthcare setting within the last 4 years e.g Health Care Assistant.


• Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Healthcare (achieved within last 4 years)

• Extensive and varied experience working within healthcare.


• Applicants will also need to demonstrate their ability to study at level 5 foundation degree level and be committed to completing the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship programme.

• Employers e.g individual GP Practices, may set additional entry requirements to suit service provision for their Practice.

• Student Nursing Associate (SNA) (TNA – Trainee Nursing Associate)’s should be in fulltime employment throughout the duration of their apprenticeship, (e.g. employed for a minimum 30 hours per week). 20% of their working hours should be supernumerary for ‘off-the-job training’.

Training pathway


Apprenticeship Levy

Education fees are required by the education provider to deliver the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship programme and are currently set nationally at a maximum of £15,000. The education fee’s can be met by utilising the Apprenticeship Levy.

The Apprenticeship Levy is a form of taxation that was introduced in April 2017 and designed to help employers with an annual pay bill of more than £3 million, offer more apprenticeship opportunities to both existing and new staff.

Employers need to set up a digital apprenticeship account (which is supported through the One Gloucestershire Apprenticeship Hub Project Manager/Widening Access and Apprenticeship Lead).

Levy funds can only be used to fund apprenticeship training and will not cover salary, expenses or backfill of staff.

Please click the link below for further information:

Additional Roles Reimbursement (ARRS) Scheme

• ARRS is the most significant investment element within the Network Contract Direct Enhanced Service (DES) and is designed to provide financial reimbursement for Primary Care networks to build workforce capacity.

• The ARRS posts have been identified as ones for which personnel will be available, which already provide proven benefit within some practices and link to delivering relevant components of the NHS Long Term Plan (2019).

• From October 2020, the Student Nursing Associate (SNA) (TNA – Trainee Nursing Associate) and Nursing Associate roles became part of the ARRS, and therefore a Primary Care Network can claim reimbursement for their salaries, PLUS some costs up to a maximum reimbursable amount         .

• The funding for all ARRS roles will be 100% of the aggregate working time equivalent (WTE) salary, including on costs up to a maximum reimbursement (on costs are defined as Employer National Insurance and Employer Pension).

• Annual maximum reimbursable amounts (based on Agenda for Change)

• Nursing Associate | Band 4 | £31,746

• Student Nursing Associate (SNA) (TNA – Trainee Nursing Associate) | Band 3 | £28,177

• An existing member of staff e.g. Health Care Assistant could move into a Student Nursing Associate (SNA) (TNA – Trainee Nursing Associate) role. Therefore, a new role is created (providing eligibility criteria is met) and the existing role is replaced in some way. 

Workforce Transformation and Education training funding support

Employers can receive training funding support for a Student Nursing Associate (SNA) (TNA – Trainee Nursing Associate), which can be used flexibly by employers to support the Student Nursing Associate (SNA) (TNA – Trainee Nursing Associate) within their PCN e.g for supervision.

Practices do not need to apply for this funding.

Health Educational England regional teams collect learner details from the University and contact GP Practices to arrange contracts and payment, once the Student Nursing Associate (SNA) (TNA – Trainee Nursing Associate) has started the programme.

The practice of each Student Nursing Associate (SNA) (TNA – Trainee Nursing Associate) is eligible for £8,000 for the two-year programme.

£4,000 on commencement of programme and £4,000 paid at the start of the second year on programme.

An educational contract and invoice are required by Workforce Transformation and Education to claim & be in receipt of the monies.

For Student Nursing Associates (SNA) (TNA – Student Nursing Associate (SNA) (TNA – Trainee Nursing Associate)) who work 50% of their practice time within a Learning Disability field, Autism or both, an enhanced rate of £15,800 per Student Nursing Associate (SNA) (TNA – Trainee Nursing Associate) is offered by Workforce Transformation and Education.

£7,9000 on commencement of programme and £7,900 paid at the start of the second year on programme.

Many GP Practices use this to develop the Student Nursing Associate (SNA) (TNA – Trainee Nursing Associate) role for Learning Disability health checks.

TNA onboarding Check list

The TNA Onboarding Check List can be accessed here.

Training dates for the ePAD – Knowledge Base (


Nursing Associate Job Description Guidance .pdf (

Case Studies

“Prior to starting my Nursing Associate training, I was working as a General Practitioner’s Assistant. However, I wanted to challenge and apply myself more within the clinical setting. I decided to start the nursing associate apprenticeship, a two-year course with The Open University. This course appealed to me because it allowed me to study and gain hands on experience, whilst continuing to work as a General Practitioners Assistant. Prior to starting the course, I was nervous and apprehensive, but excited at the new opportunities ahead.

Having completed the course, I feel I have grown and developed significantly as a Nursing Associate as well as on a personal level. The course has enabled me to learn an array of new knowledge and skills, that I hope to continue to work and build on. I experienced 4 placements, all of which provided me with different learning experiences. Some of my most memorable moments included scrubbing up in theatre to watch a mastectomy breast operation, helping a young female recover after a mental health breakdown, and helping an elderly gentleman recover post stroke. These placements opened my eye to the opportunities out there. I enjoyed the full learning experience and felt fully supported by my colleagues and the university.

As a Nursing Associate within a GP surgery, I work alongside the Nurses, GP’s and admin staff in order to provide high quality care for our patients. I have daily clinics where I carryout an array of healthcare tests and checks, for example blood tests, blood pressure checks, ECG screenings, long term condition review, Learning disabilities reviews, NHS health checks and much more. I have enjoyed the upskilling process and hope to continue to grow and explore where my new role will take me.”


“I wanted to join the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship, as I enjoy hands-on learning and felt I was a good fit for the role. My placement is within a GP surgery, so I can work alongside Nurses and learn whilst I am working. I’m hoping to enrol in the top-up course to qualify as a Registered Nurse after my apprenticeship ends and I have gained some more experience in my role. I would love to stay in Primary Care when I’ve qualified, and I would love to promote the role to other healthcare assistants looking to further their skills and qualifications.”


“I would describe my Student Nursing Associate (SNA) (TNA – Trainee Nursing Associate) journey as a ‘rollercoaster’. The beginning of my course was during Covid-19 pandemic, which meant that teaching was transferred online and I had to learn to adapt to new situations and unprecedented circumstances. This was a challenging experience as communication became more infrequent and I had learnt how to make informed decisions for myself.

I have enjoyed practical learning and spoke placements opportunities. I particularly enjoyed my spoke placement on the vascular ward where I was able to learn a variety of new skills of wound care as well as maintaining my foundational knowledge. I have been able to develop a range of new friendships and met lots of new colleagues who have made me feel helpful, valued and part of their team.

University teaching has allowed me to understand the meaning behind holistic care and taught me valuable information about long term conditions, medicines management and anatomy and physiology. I therefore now understand the meaning behind a patient’s illness, and the importance of implementing a person centred approach. Understanding the process of drug absorption and adverse drug reactions has been particularly useful throughout practice placement experiences and is vital knowledge that I can transfer when administering medication in all nursing career opportunities in the future.

Overall, I would recommend the Student Nursing Associate (SNA) (TNA – Trainee Nursing Associate) course to any new starter who aspires to have a career in nursing. I wish to use my leadership and management skills to become a practice supervisor or mentor in the future, encouraging students who were once like me, to flourish in their new adventure.”


“So far, the Student Nursing Associate (SNA) (TNA – Trainee Nursing Associate) journey has been amazing. I have had the opportunity to meet so many different Student Nursing Associates (SNA) (TNA – Student Nursing Associate (SNA) (TNA – Trainee Nursing Associate)) from different settings and we have bonded well. The course has enabled me to learn about the diversity of nursing and how crucial every area of practice is. Looking back to the start of the course, it appeared quite overwhelming, as I was getting used to working full time and completing assignments. At times, it felt stressful, but you overcome this feeling by learning to be organised.

The support I have gained through my workplace (Primary Care) has been great. I have also felt a great sense of ‘work-life balance’ as I work 4 days per week, Monday- Thursday, with Wednesday for my learning day at university. This has enabled me to still enjoy time with my friends and family and provided me with time to ‘switch off’ for a few days of the week.

As I have dyslexia, I have struggled with education for my whole life. However, to now think that I’m at university is amazing! The support offered by your employer and university, provides you with the encouragement to help you through. The course is invaluable to people like me, who enjoying learning through ‘on the job training’. After I qualify and become a Nursing Associate, I would like to complete the ‘top up’ course to become a band 5 registered Nurse.

The Student Nursing Associate (SNA) (TNA – Trainee Nursing Associate) course is another pathway in to Nursing. The training has really opened my eyes to the possibilities for the future. If you are presented with the opportunity to complete the course, I would say ‘take it!’.”

Practice Nurse Assessor

“One of our Health Care Assistants was very keen to become a Registered Nursing Associate, so as soon as the opportunity arose, we took every step to make sure they were able to start their Student Nursing Associate (SNA) (TNA – Trainee Nursing Associate) training.

As our Student Nursing Associate (SNA) (TNA – Trainee Nursing Associate) was already working for Aspen Medical Practice, it took a little bit of ‘juggling’ to make sure they had the correct hours required for study and for supervision. However, once the hours were planned, the study and supervision time was effectively organised. As a Practice we ‘lost’ some of the Health Care Assistant hours, so they were able to have time the required time for their training. As a Practice, we were very lucky to have supportive GP partners who agreed for us to work together for one day each week. We have used the time for clinical discussion and supervised learning of new skills. These include contraception and women’s health and diabetes. Some of the time has also been used for any assessments, signing off hours and updating the electronic learning PAD. We occasionally have virtual meetings with the Open University, however the meetings are very few and far between, and time is always allocated if needed.

On other days, our Student Nursing Associate (SNA) (TNA – Trainee Nursing Associate) will see patients who they would usually see in their regular Health Care Assistant role, but also set aside time for their academic study. There are twice yearly spoke placements and when our Student Nursing Associate (SNA) (TNA – Trainee Nursing Associate) attends their placement, the Practice welcomes a Student Nursing Associate (SNA) (TNA – Trainee Nursing Associate) from another setting. We are currently supporting our Student Nursing Associate (SNA) (TNA – Trainee Nursing Associate) with developing their leadership skills, and have set up a group diabetes sessions. So far, the sessions have been delivered together, but with time, our Student Nursing Associate (SNA) (TNA – Trainee Nursing Associate) will hopefully deliver these sessions independently.

We are looking forward to our Student Nursing Associate (SNA) (TNA – Trainee Nursing Associate) qualifying early next year. As their role is already expanding, they will be able to continue to support the General Practice Nurses in practice. From a Mentor perspective, having the support of the treatment room team and the GP partners means that I can provide our Student Nursing Associate (SNA) (TNA – Trainee Nursing Associate) with the support that they require. It has also been beneficial that our Student Nursing Associate (SNA) (TNA – Trainee Nursing Associate) was already an experienced and valued member of the team, and it has been a pleasure to support them on their journey.”

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