How do I build the business case for nursing associates?

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It is likely that you will need to present a robust business case to your board to secure the required investment to develop this role in your organisation. Articulating the opportunities the nursing associate role can bring to your organisation’s workforce supply, and clearly explaining the role that the board can play, will help to ensure their leadership and support.

Questions to consider when building your business case:

  • Is there is any funding support from other areas, such as national or regional support funds?
  • Do you intend to access apprenticeship levy funds from your training provider to cover eligible clinical placement costs? Accessing money under this arrangement will be subject to the rules on subcontracting that require you to be on the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP). Guidance on this can be found at Gov.uk
  • What are the expected benefits and return on investment of the role?
  • Will introducing nursing associates have an impact on your bank and agency spend? What will this be?
  • Do you have the required infrastructure in place to provide the administration and pastoral support of your trainees?
  • What impact will the introduction of the role have on your recruitment and retention challenges?
  • How does the introduction of the role align with board priorities such as apprenticeship levy use; diversity and inclusion; domestic recruitment; safe staffing; right staff right skills; nursing development and supply?
  • What is your pay strategy for trainee nursing associates (apprenticeships or otherwise)?
  • What will the backfill costs be for supernumerary or protected learning time?
  • How will you protect the learning time of trainee nursing associates, and ensure they are exposed to a variety of placement settings and experiences?
  • What are the risks of not investing in trainee nursing associates?
  • For work-based learning routes such as the apprenticeship, there are additional costs to consider such as; salary, backfill for protected learning time or supernumerary time in training, and the cost of supervision. See also the paragraph on the funding available to support clinical placements.

Shared learning

The business case for Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust’s nursing academy, which includes trainee nursing associate programmes, sets out the trust's approach to investing in nursing associate and registered nursing supply.

What is the cost for training nursing associates?

Currently, most nursing associate training programmes are being delivered through the apprenticeship route, the training costs for which can be met through your apprenticeship levy.The toolkit on Healthcare Apprenticeship Standards Online contains a costing tool that allows you to calculate the potential cost to your organisation for delivering nursing associate apprenticeships.

For work-based learning routes such as the apprenticeship, you will also need to consider the additional costs, such as backfill for protected learning time or supernumerary training time, and the cost of supervision and mentorship. See the paragraph on the funding available to support clinical placements.

A self-funded training route is currently in development and education providers are likely to offer this route to becoming a nursing associate, as well a conventional training route and the apprenticeship route, if the demand is there.

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