University of Chester

Programme Specification
Nursing Associate FDS
2016 - 2017

Foundation Science Degree

Nursing Associate

Nursing Associate

University of Chester

University of Chester

The programme will be delivered on approved University sites determined by the Faculty of Health and Social Care, including Chester Riverside campus and Warrington campus.

Undergraduate Modular Programme

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory, Work-Based inc.(practice / placement)

2 years

5 Years

Annual - January

B700

No

17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Health and Social Care Health and Social Care

The Nursing Associate Curriculum Framework (HEE, 2016)

The Care Certificate (Skills for Health)

Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (QAA, 2014)

Health & Social Care Undergraduate Module Assessment Board

Friday 2nd December 2016

The programme aims to produce compassionate, competent and confident nursing associates. The programme will take account of all the relevant professional and academic benchmarks, producing nursing associates who must act first and foremost to care for and safeguard the public.  They must work under their parameters of practice to deliver care that is safe, compassionate, person-centred, and evidence-based and that respects and maintains dignity and human rights. 

The programme aims to enable students to:         

  • Be fit to practice in the widest range of settings and be equipped with the knowledge, understanding, skills, attitudes and behaviours relevant to employment as a nursing associate.
  • Work within the nursing associates’ parameters of practice to deliver care under the direction of a registered nurse and or appropriate health or care professional.
  • Undertake a dynamic and quality educational experience by providing a work based learning environment that promotes flexibility and creativity.
  • Become a proficient, confident, and safe nursing associate underpinned by professional nursing values, ethical and legal frameworks and evidence based practice. 
  • Exercise personal and professional responsibility and work independently with defined parameters of practice
  • Develop and promote the skills of critical, analytical and reflective thinking.
  • Engage with the ethos of lifelong learning advancing their sense of personal responsibility and commitment to their continuing personal and professional development.
  • Support the planning, delivery and evaluation of high quality person centred holistic care that integrates their research awareness and evidence based theory and practice.
  • Work across organisational boundaries in a range of health and care settings, and apply a range of clinical and care skills appropriate to the parameters of practice.
  • Communicate effectively across a wide range of channels, individuals and health and social care professionals demonstrating compassion, empathy, respect and trust.
  • Provide high quality care, with an understanding of the way in which people's lifestyles, environments and the location of care delivery, influence their health and well-being.
  • Explain the principles underpinning leadership and associated team working, including the ability to act as a role model to other health care professionals.
  • Appreciate the importance of research and innovation in health care to improve patient safety and care.
  • Develop an appreciation of health and care contexts from local, national, and international health care perspective.

By the end of the programme (Level 5 foundation degree), the students are able to demonstrate:

  • Knowledge and critical understanding of the nursing associate role within their parameters of practice and health care workplace.
  • Knowledge of main methods of enquiry in the nursing associate role.
  • The use of established techniques for critical analysis of information to propose solutions to health care.
  • The ability to evaluate critically the appropriateness of different approaches to solving problems and apply these to healthcare practice.
  • A range of effective communication skills to a variety of audiences.

By the end of Level 4

  • Describe standards and values of the nursing profession (NM4140).
  • Explain the importance of keeping professional knowledge and skills up to date (NM4140).
  • Understand own role and duties as a nursing associate and their responsibilities towards patient safety and public protection within the context of the Code (NMC 2015) and their parameters of practice (all Level 4 modules).
  • Explain the importance of probity when working as a nursing associate (NM4140).
  • Describe the range of organisational aims, objective, policies, values and practice that affects the provision of health and care, and the individuals and communities they serve (NM4142)
  • Promote and apply the key clinical and care principles as identified in the code (all Level 4 modules).
  • Explain the fundamental principles of nursing practice and how these guide the nursing process (NM4142).
  • Describe the role of the nursing associate in the delivery of person centered holistic care (all Level 4 modules).
  • Explain the impact of effective health and wellbeing promotion, empowerment and healthy lifestyles on individuals and populations (NM4141).
  • Explain safeguarding and protection of individuals from harm, abuse and risk (NM4141).
  • Describe the structure and function of the human body in relation to common physical and mental health conditions, people with disabilities, nursing care interventions and person-centered care (NM4141).
  • Demonstrate a research awareness and evidence-based approach to the ongoing development of their role and practice and the dissemination of information (All level 4 modules)

By the end of Level 5

  • Discuss and analyse standards and values of the nursing profession (NM5140).
  • Explain and rationalise the importance of keeping professional knowledge and skills up to date (NM5140).
  • Evaluate own role and duties as a nursing associate and their responsibilities towards patient safety and public protection within the context of the Code (NMC 2015) and their parameters of practice (all modules).
  • Explain and rationalise the importance of probity when working as a nursing associate (NM5140).
  • Promote and apply the key clinical and care principles as identified in the code (all Level 5 modules).
  • Analyse the role of the nursing associate in the delivery of person centred holistic care (all Level 5 modules).
  • Appraise the impact of effective health and wellbeing promotion, empowerment and healthy lifestyles on individuals and populations  (NM5142).
  • Explain and discuss safeguarding and protection of individuals from harm, abuse and risk.(NM5142).
  • Apply knowledge of structures and functions of the human body in relation to common physical and mental health conditions, people with disabilities, nursing care interventions and person-centered care.(NM5142).
  • Discuss the principles of leadership, team working, supervision and teaching in health care environments (NM5144).
  • Demonstrate and utilize research awareness and evidence-based approach to the ongoing development of their role and practice and the dissemination of information (All level 5 modules)

By the end of Level 4

  • Understand the importance of seeking feedback, personal reflection and evaluation of one’s own and team performance (NM4140, NM4143).
  • Explain the importance of adhering to legislation, standards, policies, protocols and values that underpin national and local health care provision, working in ways agreed by one’s employer (All Level 4 modules).
  • Reflection the role of the Nursing Associate in implementation of health, safety and security policies and systems (All Level 4 modules).
  • Explain the importance of research and audit and how these are used to interpret and apply new knowledge (NM4140).
  • Apply the use of research, audit and innovation in improving the quality of patient safety and care (NM4140)
  • Explain the importance of cultural competence, duty of care and candour as a Nursing Associate (All Level 4 modules).
  • Identify evidence-based information applicable to practice (All modules at Level 4)

By the end of Level 5

  • Discuss and evaluate the importance of seeking feedback, personal reflection and evaluation of one’s own and team performance (NM5140 and NM5145).
  • Explain and analyse the importance of adhering to legislation, standards, policies, protocols and values that underpin national and local health care provision, working in ways agreed by one’s employer (All Level 5modules).
  • Critically reflect on the role of the Nursing Associate in implementation of health, safety and security policies and systems (All Level 5 modules).
  • Explain and utilise the importance of research and audit and how these are used to interpret and apply new knowledge (NM5143).
  • Apply and promote the use of research, audit and innovation in improving the quality of patient safety and care (NM5143).
  • Critically reflect on leadership, team working, supervisory and teaching and learning potential (NM5144).
  • Critically Reflect and contribute to quality and service improvements within the workplace (NM5143 and NM5145).
  • Explain and analyse the importance of cultural competence, duty of care and candour as a Nursing Associate (All Level 5 modules).
  • Access, critique and process evidence-based information applicable to practice (All modules at Level 5).
  • Utilise analytical skills when evaluating professional work from both professional and service user perspectives (All modules at Level 5).
  • Discuss and appraise innovative and creative thinking and problem solving strategies (All modules at Level 5).

By the end of Level 4

  • Explain the importance of personal health, resilience, coping mechanisms and well-being to ensure personal performance and judgement is not affected by their own health (NM5140).
  • Display a professional and personal commitment to professional standards and ethical practice (All Level 4 modules).
  • Treat individuals with dignity, respecting their diversity, beliefs, culture, needs, values, privacy and preferences (All Level 4 modules).
  • Act as a role model to others (All Level 4 modules).
  • Promote  safe and effective working (All Level 4 modules).
  • Achieve a range of appropriate practice skills relevant to the Nursing Associate programme (All Level 4modules).
  • Work in partnership with patients, carers, families and the wider health care team (All Level 4 modules).
  • Work across organisational boundaries, in a range of health and care settings and apply a range of nursing skills appropriate to their parameters of practice (All Level 4 modules).
  • Deliver  planned nursing interventions across the life course (NM4141, NM4142).
  • Recognise and act under direct supervision upon early signs and or deterioration using psychological and physiological assessments and observations (NM4141, NM4142).
  • Under direct supervision, participate in the administration and management of medicines (NM4141).
  • Champion the use of existing and new technologies and innovation (All Level 4 modules)
  • Reflect and engage with continuing personal and professional development, acting on feedback of others (All Level 4 modules). 

By the end of Level 5

  • Discuss and anlayse the importance of personal health, resilience, coping mechanisms and well-being to ensure personal performance and judgement is not affected by their own health (NM5140).
  • Display a professional and personal commitment to professional standards and ethical practice (All Level 5 modules).
  • Treat individuals with dignity, respecting their diversity, beliefs, culture, needs, values, privacy and preferences (All 5 modules).
  • Act as a role model to others and critically reflect upon yours and other's practice (All Level 5 modules).
  • Promote and exemplify safe and effective working (All Level 5 modules).
  • Achieve a range of appropriate practice skills relevant to the Nursing Associate programme (All Level 5 modules).
  • Work in partnership with patients, carers, families and the wider health care team demonstrating appropriate communication and leadership styles (All Level 5 modules).
  • Work across organisational boundaries, in a range of health and care settings and apply a range of nursing skills appropriate to their parameters of practice (All Level 5 modules).
  • Deliver and analyse planned nursing interventions across the life course (NM5142).
  • Recognise and act upon early signs and or deterioration using psychological and physiological assessments and observations (NM5142).
  • Be competent in the administration and management of medicines (NM5142 and NM5141).
  • Champion the use of existing and new technologies and innovation (All Level 5 modules).
  • Critically reflect and engage with continuing personal and professional development, acting on feedback of others (All Level 5 modules). 

By the end of Level 4

  • Communicate effectively with individuals, groups and communities that promote compassion, empathy, respect and trust (All Level 4 modules).
  • Explain the importance of clear and effective communication with regards to person-centred care (All Level 4 modules).
  • Produce clear, concise, factual written reports in the practice setting (All Level 4 modules).
  • Demonstrate a range of digital skills to enable them to identify and access appropriate evidence based resources (All Level 4 modules).
  • Communicate effectively with the multi-disciplinary team (All modules at Level 4)
  • Demonstrate a range of communication strategies to develop and maintain effective relationships with service users and carers (All Level 4 modules).
  • Use and demonstrate a range of communication strategies to identify service user’s needs, deliver planned care and challenge areas of concern (All Level 4 modules).
  • Use a range of communication strategies to empower individuals to make effective health choices (All Level 4 modules).
  • Use a range of communication strategies to deliver health education/ health advice to service users and carers (All Level 4 modules).

By the end of Level 5

  • Critically reflect upon communication  with individuals, groups and communities that promote compassion, empathy, respect and trust (All Level 5 modules).
  • Explain and analyse the importance of clear and effective communication with regards to person-centered care (All Level 5 modules).
  • Produce clear, concise, factual written reports in the practice setting (All Level 5 modules).
  • Evaluate a range of digital skills to enable them to identify and access appropriate evidence based resources (All Level 5 modules).
  • Communicate effectively with the multi-disciplinary team (All modules at Level 5)
  • Demonstrate and analyse a range of communication strategies to develop and maintain effective relationships with service users and carers (All Level 5 modules).
  • Use and demonstrate a range of communication strategies to identify service user’s needs, deliver planned care and challenge areas of concern (All Level 5 modules).
  • Analyse the use a range of communication strategies to empower individuals to make effective health choices (All Level 5 modules).
  • Analyse and use a range of communication strategies to deliver health education/ health advice to service users and carers (All Level 5 modules).
  • Articulate the aspirations and visions of health care organisations (All Level 5 modules).

This foundation degree programme (Level 5) incorporates the requirements of the Health Education England's Nursing Associate Curriculum Framework (HEE, 2016) and the Foundation Degree Characteristics (QAA, 2015). The programme has been designed to take account of the ethos of the Nursing Associate programme to combine and integrate academic and work based learning through close collaboration between healthcare employers and the University.

The programme emphasises the role the nursing associates have in providing person centred holistic care across the life of the course and prepares them to be fit to practice in a wide range of health care settings. Practice-based learning will be an integral part of the programme and each module contains specific learning outcomes, contact and assessment in relation to this. In addition there will be a 20 credit work based learning module at each level of the problem.

The programme is linked to a Higher Education accreditation system, with existing mechanisms for the award of credit for appropriate learning and prior experiential learning. Modules are designed to enable students to take more responsibility for their own learning as the course progresses. This is reflected in increased student led activities as the course progresses. In addition, the modules have an increasing academic demand that has a normal sequencing, progressing from Level 4 to 5 to form a coherent programme of learning.

There are 10 modules within the programme. The majority of modules are single theory/practice modules rated at 20 credits with 200 hours of associated teaching and learning. There are two double modules included at Level 4 NM4140 Professional and Academic Study Skills and NM4141 Delivering Care Across Health and Care Settings and these are rated at 40 credits with 400 hours of associated teaching and learning. The modular structure facilitates the application of theory to practice. Modules are designed and delivered in accordance with the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) using their stated level descriptors as a reference point. Year 1, Level 4 modules consist of 2 x 20 credit delivered in a semester approach and 2 x 40 credit modules that are delivered over the academic year. The emphasis in Year 1 is the instillation of professional and personal values and attitudes, and the development of fundamental nursing skills that ensure person centred care, safety, safeguarding and protection of service users of all ages, their carers and their families. There is an exit point of 120 Level 4 credits with an award of Certificate in Higher Education in Health Care Studies upon successful completion.

Year 2, Level 5, consists of 6 x 20 credit modules that are delivered in semesters over the academic year. The emphasis in Year 2 is to prepare the trainee nursing associate for their role and it builds on Year 1 enabling the trainee student to develop confidence and ability to work more independently.  On successful completion of all components of the course, the target award is a Nursing Associate Foundation Degree.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
NM4140 4 Developing Professionalism and Academic Study Skills 40 Comp
NM4141 4 Delivering Care Across Health and Care Settings 40 Comp
NM4142 4 Person Centred Approaches to Care 20 Comp
NM4143 4 Nursing Associate Work Based Learning 20 Comp
NM5140 5 Enhancing Professionalism and Academic Study Skills 20 Comp
NM5141 5 Medicine Management and Administration 20 Comp
NM5142 5 Enhancing Care Delivery Across Health and Care Settings 20 Comp
NM5143 5 Research, Development and Innovation 20 Comp
NM5144 5 Leadership, Team Working and Learning in Practice 20 Comp
NM5145 5 Nursing Associate Work Based Learning 20 Comp

Year 1 comprises of 2 x 20 credit modules and 2 x 40 credit module accumulating 120 Level 4 credits in total.  Successful completion of Level 4, entitles participants to the exit award of Certificate in Higher Education in Health Care Studies.

Year 2 comprises of 6 x 20 credit modules accumulating 120 Level 5 credits. Successful completion of 120 Level 4 credits, plus 120 Level 5 credits (total credits = 240), entitles the student to a Nursing Associate Foundation Degree.

It is normally expected that the following criteria are met:

  • Have an NVQ level 3 in healthcare and level 2 literacy and numeracy
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as evidence of literacy are accepted. The scores must be at least 7.0 overall.
  • Have relevant and demonstrable experience in a healthcare setting
  • Be able and willing to travel across the Nursing Associate Partnership sites
  • Demonstrate both employer values and the Six C's
  • Be keen to champion outstanding care

Applications are encouraged from mature students and from groups normally under-represented in higher education. Short listed applicants will have a 40 minute Trust Values Based Interview. If successful, they will then progress to a University Recruitment Event. The interview processes are conducted by a range of people including: a member of academic staff, a representative from clinical practice, and a lived experience connector. 

The Faculty of Health and Social Care facilitates a widening of access to its programmes by accepting that qualification points for entry may be met by ‘a combination or range of educational, vocational and access qualifications, which would indicate that the candidate has undertaken a substantial course of study'.

The following benchmarks have been mapped into modules to ensure that national and professional regulatory quality frameworks have been met.      

  1. Nursing Associate Curriculum Framework (HEE,2016).  The eight domains of the curriculum framework have been integrated and mapped throughout the programme. Each domain is assessed both within theory and practice.
  2. Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (QAA, 2014) (http://www.qaa.ac.uk/).  The Foundation Degree descriptors (see bullet points below) were utilized to guide, develop and provide structure to the programme design, philosophy and aims:
  • Knowledge and critical understanding of the Nursing Associate role within their parameters of practice and health care workplace.
  • Knowledge of main methods of enquiry in the Nursing Associate role.
  • The use of established techniques for critical analysis of information to propose solutions to health care.
  • The ability to evaluate critically the appropriateness of different approaches to solving problems and apply these to healthcare practice.
  • A range of effective communication skills to a variety of audiences.

       3. The Care Certificate (Skills for Health)                                                                                   

The Nurse Associate Curriculum Framework considered the criteria for the Care Certificate and has been mapped to the Nursing Associate domains 

These benchmark standards represent the general expectations of standards for the award of qualifications at a given academic level, and articulate the attributes and capabilities that should be demonstrated by a nursing associate who undertakes a foundation degree.

The learning, teaching and assessment strategy used within the programme aims to prepare the trainee nursing associate for professional practice. Work based learning, supervision in practice, discussions with a lived experience connector and use of action learning sets will be a fundamental part of the learning and teaching approach to integrate theory and practice and encourage reflection on practice. Each trainee nursing associate will be allocated to one lived experience connector to work with during the programme. It is expected that the trainee nursing associate will spend one day a week at University or undertaking private study and work four days in practice. The programme will be delivered over a 45 week year and there will be an induction period at the beginning of the academic year of no more than  a week.

Students will experience a variety of teaching and learning methods designed to facilitate the achievement of all learning outcomes at Level 4 and 5 within a student-centred approach, and to foster personal and professional development. Each module will utilise a mix of teaching methods, which take account of the subject matter, the student group size, the students’ previous experience and the resources available. Methods of learning and teaching will include formal lectures, work based learning, scenario-based learning sessions, tutorials, seminars, action learning sets, presentations and debates, reflection, and case discussions, practice-based workshops, directed study, private study sessions, and e-learning packages. The transition to higher education (HE) will be a key learning and teaching strategy initially, and will be supported by the University’s transition to HE booklet and PASS website.

Formative, self and peer assessment will be an integral part of the practice learning, workshops, seminars, directed reading and learning. Students will have opportunities to discuss their work, observe and practice skills with tutors, supervisors, lived experience connectors and peers to gain feedback in order to develop their learning. Within each module there will be an opportunity for the student to gain feedback on draft work and formative skills assessments in accordance with the Faculty draft policy. At the beginning of the programme the student will receive a formative similarity report on their work.

The practice learning outcomes are assessed using a Practice Assessment Record (PAR) document which is not graded. The student experience will be enhanced by the use of reflection which is assessed and is also part of the professional portfolio. The Practice Assessment Record (PAR) document and reflections form part of their professional is portfolio. Service users' views are incorporated into the assessment process, via discussions with a lived experience connector and feedback from service users in practice . The main vehicle for assessing practice learning and achievement is the Practice Assessment Record (PAR)Interprofessional Learning (IPL) in practice through formalised learning pathways will be encouraged.

Students will be placed at the centre of the learning experience and are expected to assume responsibility for their own educational development through reflection and management of their work based learning experience. This will require the student to actively identify and negotiate specific personal learning outcomes within their parameters practice and module learning outcomes. The student will also be expected to complete a professional portfolio. The portfolio will contain all of the Practice Assessment Record (PAR) documents, assessed work, reflections and evidence of achievement of the learning outcomes. The portfolio contains some assessed work but it is not assessed as a complete document. The student is required to submit the professional portfolio during the course as part of the work based learning modules, one in each year.

Work based practice learning will be facilitated through clinical learning opportunities both in their employment trust and across other organisations and practice settings. Each module within the programme has 50% attributed to learning in practice, this includes 100 hours attributed to practice learning opportunities, discussion and reflection with their supervisor and lived experience connector, action learning sets, personal reflection and experience of patient journeys. A final work based learning module in each year allows personal goals and learning to be set jointly by the employer, student and tutor.

The programme aims to integrate theory and practice through its assessment strategies. The assessment strategies expose students to a variety of methods designed to integrate theory with practice, however emphasis is placed on application to practice and the ethos of the programme (work based learning). In the programme the assessments will include: patch work text; assignments; skills assessments and logs; oral examinations; portfolio development; presentations and practice assessment. This tests knowledge and understanding of practice. Students will be asked to demonstrate critical thinking and cognitive ability by drawing on practice experience to explore clinical themes and contemporary issues. Formative summative journey will be an integral part of the student experience in theory and practice.

The programme prepares the trainee nursing associate through work based learning and module content to be fit for practice as a nursing associate. The Shape of Caring Review (2015) made recommendations to strengthen the capacity and skills of the nursing and caring workforce. One key recommendation was to develop a role that bridged the gap between unregulated care assistants (band 2) and the registered nurse workforce (band 5 and above), the nursing associate position at band 4 was seen to address this recommendation.

The emphasis on work based learning throughout the programme will facilitate the nursing associate to be employed in a range of health care environments.

It will be possible for the nursing associate on successful completion of the programme, after a period of employment to apply and complete the Undergraduate Nursing programme, leading to registration with the NMC. APeL of the foundation degree (nursing associate) would facilitate entry onto the later stages of the current undergraduate programme (currently 50% of the nursing degree).

This programme fully embraces the University's commitment to the active promotion of equality of opportunity. The University seeks to ensure that no student is disadvantaged or discriminated against on the grounds of: gender; age; marital or parental status; sexual orientation; racial group (race, colour, nationality, ethnicity or national origins); creed (religious, political or personal beliefs or principles); membership or non-membership of a trade union; and socio-economic background. It also aims to ensure that disabled people and those with special needs do not suffer unfair discrimination, and that they are enabled to achieve their full potential as students. The ultimate objectives of the programmes delivered are to ensure all aspects of delivery are open to all sections of society, and that all students can participate in programme activities to the best of their ability. This programme is designed to ensure that the diverse needs of our students are provided for, and has been developed and will be delivered with this in mind.

Students on this programme will receive support and guidance from academic staff within the Faculty, their employer, clinical staff  and a supervisor in practice, and the support mechanisms of the wider University:

  1. Academic support and assessment guidance from the Module Leader.
  2. Support throughout from the Programme Leader.
  3. Support from a Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) throughout the programme
  4. Support and guidance from a nominated person within the supporting organisation.
  5. Student Support and Guidance (SSG) is available to all University of Chester students.
  6. The Programme Page which is available on the University intranet.
  7. The Programme Handbook which is available on the University intranet.
  8. Module Handbooks that provide more specific details about the module than the Module Descriptor e.g. specific breakdown of content including timetabled sessions, and an updated illustrative reading list to ensure that recommended reading remains relevant and current.
  9. Module descriptors, timetables and associated learning materials, e.g. learning packs, accessible via Portal.
  10. Induction programme.
  11. Guidance on APL /AP(E)L is available through the AP(E)L team.

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