The Nursing Associate is a highly trained support role to deliver effective, safe and responsive nursing care.  Nursing Associate’s work independently, within defined parameters, to deliver care in line with an agreed plan.  Nursing Associates have the breadth of knowledge and a flexible, portable skill set to serve local health populations, working in a range of settings covering pre-life to end of life.

The FdSc offered by the college is validated by Bournemouth University and is part of the Apprenticeship Standard for Nursing Associate. 

It is a combination of one study day a week at college, practice placements hours and a degree of protective study within the workplace setting.

Each apprentice will be required to complete 20% of the programme within external placement settings away from their substantive/ employed setting over the duration of the two-year course to enhance their exposure to the varied settings where healthcare is delivered in contemporary nursing practice.

Programme hours and Professional body requirements

Programme hours/ attendance

Apprentices must undertake 2300 programme hours as required by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Programme hours include the following;

Nursing associate pre-registration programmes must include at least 2,300 programme hours, typically over two years. These hours must be protected for learning, whether in an academic, health, or care setting.

The programme provides an equal balance of theory and practice learning.

Programme hours are hours protected for learning, in theory and practice.

Hours which are not protected for learning, in which students are in effect working in their substantive place of work, do not count towards programme hours.

What is protected learning time?

The NMC does not require nursing associate apprentices to be supernumerary while learning in practice, but the student must have protected learning time. The decision about how this is provided is for education providers and practice placement partners. All students must be supervised when they are learning in practice. The level of supervision will depend on level of risk associated with particular tasks or interventions, and the competence and confidence of the student. Protected learning time (PLT) is an NMC requirement defined as ‘time is designated time in which students are supported to learn’ (NMC 2018).


Students are advised to review their contractual agreement with their employing organisation on application to ensure they will meet course requirements for workplace learning for the duration of their course

What the course leads to

What courses can I do after this? 

You could progress on to a top up programme such as the BSc Nursing at Bournemouth University.

What do I need to apply

To do this course you should have... 

On enrolment, Trainee Nursing Associates will be employed in a healthcare role. They should be employed in a setting where they can be supervised by a Registered Nurse or other registered healthcare professional in line with NMC guidelines. Individuals will need to demonstrate the ability to study a programme at academic level 5.

They will need to have the following qualifications:

  • L3 NVQ / QCF Diploma in Health or Health and Social care or equivalent

  • Maths and English - Functional Skills at L2 or a GCSE grade A-C. 

  • Work in line with The Code of Conduct for Healthcare Support Workers and Adult Social Care Workers in England.

  • Satisfy through application and selection process suitability for Nursing Associate practice and values and behaviours in accordance with the NMC (2018) Code.

Please note you will need to provide evidence of your qualifications when making an application. All international qualifications which are listed in the application to meet the entry criteria will need to be accompanied by a UK ENIC Statement of Comparability.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

All applicants for RPL will be individually assessed and must also meet the entry requirements of the programme. A student may be admitted to the programme with specific credit provided that they can demonstrate that they have met the intended learning outcomes of the relevant unit(s) at the required level. The total RPL permitted will not exceed a maximum of 50% of the programme, provided that all requirements are met in full. For first and second level nurses registered with the NMC, RPL is permitted to the maximum allowed in University regulations, provided that all requirements including professional requirements are met in full.

Enquiries regarding Individual Unit Exemption(s) must be received during the admissions process, Applications for individual unit exemptions are dealt with by the Admissions Teams. All applicants wishing to apply for RPL must complete RPL form which is available on request. 

Occupational Health (OH) Checks

Nursing is physically and mentally demanding and you will need to be mentally and physically able to undertake this course. Places are offered subject to passing an OH check, this will take place as part of the application process. Health conditions need to be dealt with on an individual basis e.g. deafness, blindness, eczema (or other dermatological allergic reactions) on exposed areas, epilepsy, back problems, or mental health conditions, eating disorders and other disabilities. These do not automatically exclude you but please ensure that you fully disclose your condition on the form. The College and BU can then consider whether reasonable adjustments can be made to support you on this course. If you require more guidance please contact us The College for more information.

You will be required to provide a record of your immunity status or be vaccinated or have the required blood tests. Please see this table for the required immunisations. You may need to ask your GP or current OH department or find your childhood vaccination record for details of your past immunisation records. You should be aware that there may be charges made (for which you will be liable) relating to your gaining the appropriate immunity required prior to starting your training programme.

Refusing Immunisations

The College and BU has an expectation that all students will comply with the vaccination programme. This ensures that you will be able to undertake the wide range of training placements that your course will require. Occasionally some vaccinations are contraindicated in certain medical conditions. If this occurs, The College and BU will need to see evidence and will consider students on an individual basis. Refusal to have immunisations will result in the student not being allowed to attend practice placement and being withdrawn from the course. There is no opportunity to appeal against the requirements of the immunisation policy.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check (previously known as CRB)

All successful applicants will be subject to a recent Enhanced Disclosure and Barring List check to include Adults & Children (must be completed within the last 3 years or record of annual update). This will be a condition of offer and will need to be completed prior to commencing the course.

Course costs

Course CodeUCAS Code Start Date Costs
BP20004 04/09/2024 TBC

* Please note fees are subject to change.


Funding Band  £15,000

Course content

Course Content 

The programme aims to produce compassionate, competent and confident Nursing Associates who will qualify with a Level 5 Foundation Degree. They will be able to deliver a wide range of skills including; clinical, care and interpersonal. These are underpinned by a systematic knowledge base.

The Nursing Associate Curriculum Framework requires Learning Outcomes to be met of the following 8 Domains:

Domain 1: Professional values and parameters of practice

Domain 2: Person-centred approaches to care

Domain 3: Delivering care

Domain 4: Communication and interpersonal skills

Domain 5: Team working and leadership

Domain 6: Duty of care, candour, equality and diversity 

Domain 7: Supporting learning and assessment in practice

Domain 8: Research, development and innovation

These are presented as:

• Knowledge to be acquired and applied

• Practical skills to be demonstrated

• Attitudes and behaviours to be consistently displayed

You will be able to practice safely and effectively within their parameters of practice, demonstrating appropriate values and behaviours in a wide range of health and care settings and meet the NMC Standards of Proficiency.

More info

Start Day/Time 

This programme delivers 2 start dates March & September.


2 Years



Campus Code 


Qualification Name 

Foundation Degree


Bournemouth & Poole College

Awarding Body 

Bournemouth University (Validated)

Curriculum Area 

Science, Care, Health and Foundation - Health

More about the course 

All Trainee Nursing Associates are required to wear the BPC TNA uniform. 

Additional costs

There may be extra costs that are not covered by the fees which employers and students will need to consider when planning their studies. Apprenticeship funding covers the cost of your teaching, assessment, uniform and operating facilities such as the library, access to shared IT equipment and other support services.

These additional costs may be required for additional vaccinations, security checks such as DBS (dated within the last 3 year), extra uniforms, professional registrations.

The majority of applications are done through 'Our Dorset' with a March start being involved however please refer to your practice educator at the outset, alternatively register your interest with them for future opportunities. For further information about the course please contact the course administrator Dawn Lock via e-mail at 




Academic Year 



2 Years



Campus Code 


Qualification Name 

Foundation Degree


Bournemouth & Poole College

Awarding Body 

Bournemouth University (Validated)

What Uni? Student Choice Awards 2018 Third Place FE College