Nursing Associate Higher Apprenticeship FdSc

Work-based, degree apprenticeship undergraduate (23 months)

Chelmsford, Peterborough (Guild House)

January, September



Train as a nursing associate apprentice - a new Band 4 role in the nursing workforce supporting registered nurses in primary, secondary, community and social care that will lead to registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). You'll help to plan, coordinate and deliver care, and work to a nationally-recognised NMC code of conduct.

Find out more about teaching options and studying during COVID-19 in the Entry requirements section, below.

Full description
It's a brilliant way to start a rewarding nursing career and has given me opportunities that I would never have thought were possible.
Violeta Bourne
Nursing Associate, Octagon Medical Centre


Completion of the L5 Nursing Associate course will now permit you to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) on a Band 4 salary with your employer. Find out more about how the NMC regulates Nursing Associates.

In addition, your employer may support you to join the Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship (top-up) for adult nursing, child nursing, or mental health nursing. This allows you to apply up to 180 credits of Accredited Prior Learning (APL) from your Nursing Associate course, enabling you to study additional modules at Level 6 and specialise in adult, child or mental health nursing for a Band 5 role.

Modules & assessment

Level 4 modules

  • Fundamentals of Care for Patient Safety
    All Nursing Associate students need to become skilled in fundamental care and have understanding of physical and mental health care needs. This module will introduce you to these skills and to your responsibilities in maintaining patient safety, safeguarding vulnerable people, and the underpinning key drivers and professional values.
  • Supporting Person-Centred Health (Physical and Mental) and Wellbeing
    Building on your knowledge of bioscience and clinical skills to enhance delivery of safe and fundamental care, you will develop an understanding of the professional values and attributes expected of a Nursing Associate in the delivery of person-centred care, as well as your communication skills.
  • Medicines Calculation for Safe Practice 1 (0 credits)
    Patient safety is at the heart of nursing and it is a requirement of the professional regulator (the Nursing and Midwifery Council) that by the point of entry to register, nurses must demonstrate competency in numeracy skills in the safe administration of drugs (NMC, 2018). This includes being competent in basic medicines calculations relating to: tablets and capsules, liquid medicines and injections. Safe Medicate is an online learning and assessment package focusing on medicines calculations. You’ll be given login information for this software at the beginning of the course and can have unlimited access to this e-learning platform, practice questions, and formative assessments. A professional requirement of the course is that you become proficient in medicine calculations. Each year, you’ll undertake an online medicine calculations module which offers the opportunity for unlimited practice related to a variety of medicine calculations. You’ll be required to undertake a minimum of 6 formative assessments prior to the summative assessment. When you take your exam, you’ll be required to get a pass mark of 80%.

Level 5 modules

  • Supporting learning for quality care
    Building on the knowledge and understanding gained in the first year of the course, you will act as a coach and supporter for junior colleagues in order to provide high quality person-centred care to service users with increasing co-morbidities, including end of life care. Through promoting shared and peer learning, you will begin to acquire leadership skills while simultaneously engaging in a culture that is focused upon learning, support and transparency. Your reflection on your own coaching experience (both as coach and being coached) and its impact on care will then form the assessment for the module.
  • Monitoring and Improving Quality of Care
    The transition from student to qualified Nursing Associate involves adjusting to a new and challenging role, accepting additional and different responsibilities, being aware of issues of accountability, and further developing the skills required of a Nursing Associate. The purpose of this module is to consolidate your knowledge, skills and attitudes in order to demonstrate competence in holistic, person-centred care within the parameters of practice. You will have the opportunity to develop your knowledge and understanding of the pathophysiology, legal and ethical issues, and challenges faced by those affected by common physical and mental health conditions.
  • Medicines Calculation for Safe Practice 3
    You will develop your competence in basic medicines calculations relating to tablets and capsules, liquid medicines, and injections.


Module assessment

We use formative and summative assessment strategies in both theory and practice learning to provide you with opportunities to demonstrate your acquisition of practical skills and underpinning knowledge. Your development of a range of transferable skills critical to effective health care such as teamwork, communication (written and verbal), decision-making, leadership, facilitation and problem solving skills, are encouraged.

Assessments vary throughout the programme, and include QMP multi-choice testing, written assignments, presentations, and an e-portfolio. We also test medicine calculations online.

Assessment strategies, in accordance with the England Practice Assessment Document (PAD) for Nursing Associates, include:

  • Assessment of a wide range of practice competencies, mapped to the NMC Standards of Proficiency for Nursing Associates
  • Assessment of professional values
  • Service user assessment in the practice setting
  • Reflections on episodes of care
  • Assessment of medicines management

This is completed using an e-practice assessment document (accessible off-line via the student tablet or on-line via a computer). There are dedicated staff within the University to support the use of this e-PAD, who would be happy to come into your practice area to help with this. This is one of the components that form the gateway to your Apprenticeship EPA.

End point assessment
The EPA for this Apprenticeship is a successful pass in two professional discussions.

Each will test your knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs) against the specific domains taken from the NMC Platforms for registered nursing associates.

These are:

  • Being an accountable professional
  • Promoting health and preventing ill-health
  • Provide and monitor care
  • Working in teams
  • Improving safety and quality of care
  • Contributing to integrated care

You will be working towards these competencies throughout the course, and time is built in to prepare you for the EPA.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care is the largest in ARU, with over 7,000 students. Our Faculty is teeming with expertise and primed to meet the demand for creating health professionals, teachers, doctors, scientists and educators for the three districts we serve: Chelmsford, Cambridge and Peterborough.

We have been training undergraduates for professional roles for over 25 years, with a reputation for quality, dedication and ambition balanced with student satisfaction.

We know that to give our students the very best experiential learning, prior to getting into the workplace, simulation is second to none, for safe, realistic, learning environments. We have invested heavily in purpose built simulated wards, science labs and skills space, to support our students through their learning.

Where can I study?

Tindal Building on our Chelmsford campus

Our striking, modern campus sits by the riverside in Chelmsford's University and Innovation Quarter.

Explore our Chelmsford campus

Peterborough (Guild House)
Guild House

Guild House is our small, friendly campus in the historic city of Peterborough.

Explore our Guild House campus

Fees & funding

Course fees

Degree apprenticeships are fully funded by your employer and the Government


Entry requirements

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Essential Requirements:

  • Employment in a suitable healthcare role/environment on a permanent contract exceeding 30 hours per week (ideally 37.5 hours per week)
  • Employer support to undertake this course
  • Confirmed eligibility to be funded as an Apprentice as set out within the ESFA’s Funding Rules
  • Evidence of level 3 study in a related subject e.g. A Levels, BTEC in Health and Social Care*
  • Level 2 qualifications in Maths and English e.g. GCSEs at Grade C/4 or above (or ESFA-approved equivalent )
  • An enhanced level Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) disclosure is a check with police forces and local authorities in the UK to ascertain whether or not you are suitable to work with certain groups of vulnerable people. These checks are required to be carried out on all prospective students to ensure the safety of our client group.
    Further information on DBS disclosure will be sent at a later date if you are successful and firmly accept your place at ARU.
  • Occupational Health clearance from your employer
  • A professional reference

* Applicants without a Level 3 qualification but healthcare experience will be considered on an individual basis for accreditation of prior learning (APL)/prior experiential learning (APEL).

** Applicants currently working towards a Level 2 qualification in either English or Maths must have gained the qualification prior to the start of the course. If you are unlikely to have evidence of either qualification before the start of the course, you should delay your application until you have these.

Applicants from outside the European Economic Area must provide evidence of achievement of the English Language Testing System (IELTS) test: at least 6.0 in the listening and reading sections, at least 6.0 in the writing and speaking sections, and at least an overall score of 6.0.

Only on provision of the evidence to demonstrate that you meet the requirements listed above will you be invited to attend an interview.

Studying during COVID-19

Due to national restrictions all universities in England, including ARU, are only able to provide face to face teaching on campus for a limited number of courses. Visit our restrictions page for details.

In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic the majority of our apprenticeship courses are being delivered online only using our established online learning systems. The provision offered is subject to change due to the possibility of further Government restrictions, however the University remains committed to delivering teaching and ensuring a COVID-19 secure environment for those that are on campus.

View the impact of the current restrictions.

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