School of Nursing and Midwifery

FdSc Nursing Associate

Nursing Associates bridge the gap between healthcare assistants and registered nurses and are an integral part of the nursing family, supporting healthcare teams with their clinical and administrative duties. This course fundamentally supports students to develop their clinical knowledge, skills and professional attributes to be able to support registered nurses across all branches of nursing to help provide high-quality, safe, holistic care to patients and their families in their times of need.

Upon completion of the programme, students will have developed into competent and confident professionals eligible for entry to the Nursing and Midwifery Council register as a nursing associate and can work across a range of clinical teams. Successfully completing the programme also gives students the opportunity to undertake further studies to qualify as a registered nurse.

Apply through UCAS for 2023 entry

For stage 2 direct entry applicants starting September 2022 please contact the Continuing Professional Development Unit.

Careers with this subject

A Nursing Associate bridges the gap between healthcare assistants and registered nurses and is an integral part of the nursing family, supporting healthcare teams with their clinical and administrative duties. Once qualified as a Nursing Associate you may work across a wide range of healthcare settings, including:

  • acute or community hospitals (across a range of clinical areas)
  • community nursing teams
  • GP practices.

Key features

  • Eligibility to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
  • Strong emphasis on application of new evidence-based knowledge to clinical practice.
  • A student centred programme that values prior experiential learning.
  • Mapped against the Care Certificate Standards (Appendix 5).
  • All modules include adult, mental health, child health and learning disability nursing perspectives.

Course details
  • Year 1

  • Core modules

    • Evidence Based Practice in Nursing (FDNA407)

      This module will introduce students to the role of the Nursing Associate in society and in contemporary healthcare, and equip them with the tools to gather and use appropriate information to become independent learners and reflective practitioners.

    • Applied Anatomy and Physiology for Nursing Associates (FDNA408)

      This module will develop student's knowledge, understanding and application of anatomy and physiology in terms of human development, key body systems and their relevance to holistic assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation of nursing care.

    • Holistic Assessment in Nursing Associate Practice (FDNA409)

      This module will develop the student's knowledge, understanding and application of appropriate models to effectively and robustly assess physical, mental and social health and wellbeing across the lifespan, for application to Nursing Associate practice.

    • Providing and Monitoring Care (FDNA410)

      To develop the student's knowledge and understanding of person-centred, evidence based care through planning, implementation and evaluation of safe nursing care in a range of healthcare settings, following robust and holistic assessment, with a focus on maintaining patient safety and promoting health, wellbeing and working in partnership.

    • Therapeutic Relationships through Effective Communication (FDNA411)

      This module supports students to develop basic, person-centred communication skills enabling them to engage effectively with individuals and their families, utilising a range of collaborative interpersonal skills and adopting therapeutic and ethical frameworks that can be applied in health and social care.

    • Being an Accountable Professional (FDNA412)

      This module explores and develops participants' understanding of the role and parameters of practice for Nursing Associates. It will support students to develop resilience and provide an understanding of the ethical, legal and policy requirements of the role as well as the individual accountability which Nursing Associates have, to provide high quality person centred, safe and ethical care.

  • Final year

  • Core modules

    • Promoting Public Health and Preventing Ill Health (FDNA507)

      This module aims to develop the student's knowledge and skills in relation to assessing and prioritising public health needs across the lifespan, using global, national and local epidemiological data, to define contemporary health challenges and appropriate health education and health promotion models used to address these.

    • Medicines Management (FDNA508)

      This module will develop apprentices' knowledge and understanding of medications and relevant pharmacology, working to support medication adherence and safe administration.

    • Team Working and Leadership (FDNA509)

      This module will develop participants' understanding of leadership and team working in healthcare practice. It will explore self-leadership and the role of the Nursing Associate in role modelling and providing leadership and supervision for others. It will develop participants' knowledge and understanding of quality and service improvement, clinical governance and health and social care leadership frameworks.

    • Improving Patient Safety and Quality of Care through Research (FDNA510)

      The module introduces students to research methodology and methods, including audit, in order to apply research-based evidence to professional practice, ensuring the delivery of high-quality, safe, effective, timely, efficient and equitable person-centred care, making adjustments and improving where necessary through responsive innovation.

    • Supporting Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Practice (FDNA511)

      This module will introduce theories of teaching and learning in clinical practice to underpin the role of Nursing Associate as a learner, teacher and supervisor, including the theory of reflective practice; coaching; a range of methods for giving and receiving feedback as well as applying knowledge of teaching, learning and assessment in peer learning.

    • Developing Nursing Associate Practice and Skills (FDNA512)

      This module will focus on preparation and transition to practice in a range of settings as a Nursing Associate, incorporating the knowledge, skills and values required.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

FdSc Nursing Associate Programme Specification DE route 21 22 7427

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the changeable nature of the situation and any updates to government guidance, we may need to make further, last minute adjustments to how we deliver our teaching and learning on some or all of our programmes, at any time during the academic year. We want to reassure you that even if we do have to adjust the way in which we teach our programmes, we will be working to maintain the quality of the student learning experience and learning outcomes at all times.
Entry requirements

  • Able to demonstrate values and behaviours in accordance with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC, 2018) The Code of professional standards of practice and behaviour for nurses, midwives and nursing associates. 
  • Capability to develop numeracy skills required to meet programme outcomes demonstrated through GCSE Grade 3 or 4 in maths and above or Functional Skills Level 2.
  • Capability in literacy to meet programme outcomes demonstrated through GCSE Grade 3 or 4 in English or above or Functional Skills Level 2.
  • Capability for digital and technological literacy to meet programme outcomes.
  • Proficiency in English language. The NMC accept an IELTS Academic examination certificate than confirms achievement at: an overall score of least 7 and at least 6.5 in all elements (writing, reading, listening and speaking).
  • Preference will be given to applicants who have completed a L4 Access to Higher Education Bridging Module with an approved provider.
  • Applicants must be at least 18 years old on commencement of the programme.

You must also complete:

  • DBS Enhanced Disclosure
  • Overseas Check
  • Occupational Health Screening
  • Self-disclosure document

Fees, costs and funding

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

New Student 2021-2022 2022-2023
Home N/A £9,250
International N/A N/A
Part time (Home) N/A N/A
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. More information about fees and funding.

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the School of Nursing and Midwifery and more details of any additional costs associated with our courses are listed on the following page: additional costs for nursing and midwifery students.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code.

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Deferred entry

Unfortunately we cannot permit deferred entry. However, if you have a query please refer to an experienced admissions administrator who will be able to explain the UCAS application process in more detail admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.


The School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Plymouth recognise that people may act out of character in times of trouble or distress. However, we will not tolerate inappropriate behaviour or language towards any of our staff during the admissions process. Hostile, aggressive, or otherwise inappropriate behaviour or language, whether expressed verbally or in writing, will be viewed seriously and may adversely affect the consideration of an application, appeal, or complaint. We reserve the right to reject an application from, or withdraw an offer to, an applicant who has behaved in an inappropriate manner.

Nursing Associate Training Programme Provider of the Year 2022

The University of Plymouth has been named Nursing Associate Training Programme Provider of the Year 2022 in the Student Nursing Times Awards. 
“We are beyond thrilled to have been recognised for our Nursing Associate programme, as we’ve worked so hard to equip and empower our students to develop their clinical knowledge and skills to robustly contribute to nursing teams and patient care across a range of sectors. The Student Nursing Times Awards are some of the most prestigious in the sector, and it’s testament to our University and practice colleagues, as well as our excellent and inspiring students, whose hard work and commitment have helped us to win.” Sandy Knowles, Nursing Associate programme lead

<p>Pictured (L-R) are:&nbsp;Lucy
Llewellyn from Kingston University, one of the judges and the presenter
of the award; Sandy Knowles, Nursing Associate Programme Lead at the University of Plymouth; Jenita Loheswaran, second-year student Nursing Associate at the University's Truro School of Nursing; Lisa-Marie Rowe, Deputy Programme Lead; and Steve Ford, Editor of the Nursing Times.</p>

Lecturers