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Nursing Associate Higher Apprenticeship - FdSc

  • Level: Apprenticeship
  • Starting: October 2020, February 2021, April 2021
  • Study mode: Blended Learning (2 years)
  • Location: City South

The two year Foundation Degree Nursing Associate course was developed to support the introduction of a new nursing role and is a work based learning course aimed at experienced Health Care Assistants who want to develop themselves to become a Registered Nursing Associate (RNA).

What's covered in the course?

The FdSc Nursing Associate  is a full-time course delivered at City South Campus.  You will attend university one day a week and also attend a placement in a variety of settings across the four fields of nursing, as well as working in your permanent work base area.

You will study four level 4 modules in the first year which cover key theory and practice knowledge and skills to include person and family-centred care, professional values, the parameters of an RNA’s role and safe administration of medication. The second year modules focus on leadership and mentoring skills, health sociology and health promotion and you will also study key elements of evidence based practice. You will also complete a portfolio of evidence that is compiled over the two years as part of the practice competencies assessments.

On successful completion of the course you will be eligible to apply to be registered on the NMC Nursing Associate register.

Why study an apprenticeship?

  • Work based learning – the opportunity to build on existing knowledge and skills
  • A wide range of placement opportunities to broaden your understanding of healthcare provision across the lifespan
  • Highly experienced tutors who are all professionally qualified to support you at university
  • Work based clinical educators to support you in practice
  • A wide range of support services available to you at university to support your learning journey.

How to apply

Your employer will advertise a Trainee Nursing Associate (TNA) position and you need to apply and be successful at interview before you can apply for our FdSc Nursing Associate course.

If you are successful in securing a TNA position your employer will contact our Course Leader and they will send an application link to you to enable you to apply for the course.

Entry requirements

GCSE grade C or new grade 4 or above in English Language and Mathematics. GCSE equivalents e.g. key skills level 2 or functional skills maths and English level 2 are currently accepted.

Plus one of the following:

  • One A level grade D or above
  • Two AS level grade D or above
  • BTEC National Award grade M
  • BTEC National Certificate grade PP
  • BTEC National Diploma grade PPP
  • Access to HE Diploma
  • NVQ level 3 full diploma
  • NVQ level 2 plus written paper – essay (1,500 words)
  • Portfolio of evidence if no level 2 qualification achieved.  A portfolio route has been devised for those applicants who are already working in a health or social care setting and who do not meet the formal entry requirements. To follow this route you are still expected to possess GCSE Maths and English or equivalent

The portfolio should include:

  • Two written testimonies (one of which must be from your employer) supporting your application
  • One reflective piece that draws on your current practice (1,500 words)
  • All pieces of work should be endorsed by your line manager

You will also be required to work 30 or more hours a week.

Why Choose Us?

We have excellent facilities, including a brand new building that offers state-of-the-art equipment that will support you in your studies. There are several study spaces and open access information technology support.  

This course is not open to International students


Wioletta Kocemba

Wioletta loved working with people, but had never really found her passion. Encouraged by her colleagues, she applied for the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship. Support from BCU has helped her get to grips with studying in her second language and she is now on her way to achieving her career goals.

Read in full

Course Specification

Download the course specification the FdSc Nursing Associate Course:

Course Specification

Contact us 

If you have any queries about this course please contact the Admissions Tutor, Pamela Perks, on:

Course Accreditations

This course is accredited by:

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £340 million on new learning facilities.

We boast up-to-date, innovative facilities that simulate the real situations that medical staff may come across.

These resources are essential in offering students a hands-on introduction to health and social care practice. Much of our teaching is carried out within our state-of-the-art, £30m Seacole Building, which houses cutting-edge facilities.

Take a virtual tour of our skills suites at Seacole

In a sector where new techniques are constantly being discovered, we work hard to ensure that students learn using the most up-to-date equipment available. These include the only mock operating theatre in an English university and a cutting-edge radiography virtual clinical training facility, virtual ward and virtual case creator.

Virtual Case Creator

For pre-registration midwives, Virtual Case Creator software contains a range of scenarios to let you experience birthing situations and decide on appropriate interventions in a safe environment.

Hospital Ward

Our mock wards enable you to get a feel of what a ward is really like before you head out for your first placement. They contain ‘Sim Men’, which are demonstration dummies that develop ailments, allowing you to treat them as you would a real patient and build your confidence in reacting to the changing needs of patients.

The Hospital Ward can be adapted from a low care to high dependency care environment with the necessary monitoring equipment.

Part of the package is our SIM baby, SIM man and Mega code kid. There are also nursing manikins for fundamental skills teaching and various equipment to support essential skills teaching, such as blood pressure monitoring venepuncture and cannulation equipment.

Skills Practice and Clinical Enhancement facility

The SPACE (Skills Practice And Clinical Enhancement) learning facility lets you further practice the skills taught in class, at your own pace and convenience.

It is fully stocked with the specialist items and equipment needed for procedures such as taking blood pressure, giving an injection, abdominal examination of a pregnant woman and caring for ill babies in an incubator.

Biomedical Laboratories

We have recently installed new laboratory facilities to help you explore understand the scientific principles underpinning many of our courses. The physiology laboratory is equipped to help you learn about the way the human body works by performing investigative experiments. The biomedical science laboratory is undergoing an upgrade over the summer and will allow you to learn about anatomy, cellular processes, immunology and enzymology in a hands-on way that links directly to day-to-day health care.

Simulation Mannequins

We have several Simulation men (SIM men) and Simulation babies (SIM babies) which are leading edge, anatomically correct mannequins used for teaching specific techniques such as advanced adult and paediatric life support skills, acute and high dependency clinical skills, first aid and communication skills.

The SIM men and SIM baby mannequins are complete with software, which is used to replicate real symptoms, and are enhanced by the manipulation of for example blood pressure, pulse and heart rate for extra realism. SIM Man can also “talk” to the students which adds another dimension to their use in teaching clinical skills and in simulation exercises.

Mary Seacole Library

The Seacole library, based at City South Campus, is one of the UK's largest specialist health education libraries. The state-of-the art facility offers an extensive range of range of information and reference materials set out in a relaxing environment, conducive to studying. There are comfortable seating areas, group study areas, a silent study area and private study rooms.

The Seacole building houses a large open access IT Suite which comprises of 96 PCs, full colour printers, photocopiers and scanners. Our PCs utilise the latest Intel i5 core technology, all with:

  • Fast (unrestricted) internet connectivity
  • Ability to save files to USB, DVD & CD
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Research and statistical software
  • Storage space which can be accessed from any PC across the University and from home

Our PCs are also designed to support students who may have difficulties with reading and writing, featuring specialised software with zooming/magnification and screen reading capabilities, which may also be customised for individual student needs.

The IT Suite offers extended opening hours and is supported by a specialist Open Access Assistant during term time. In addition to the open access PCs within the IT Suite, there are 12 networked student PCs available within Seacole library.

Our staff

All of the staff in the FdSc Nursing Associate team are Registered Nurses from a wide range of clinical backgrounds including, community, paediatric and acute care. We are all experienced mentors and assessors and are able to support you in the workplace as well as with your university course.

Pamela Perks

Pamela Perks

Lecturer / Admissions Tutor

Pamela has worked in health care since the eighties starting her career on a children’s ward. The majority of her career though has been in Critical Care working in a variety of settings and specialties at Grimsby, Leeds and Papworth hospitals before coming to Birmingham’s Major Injuries Unit in the early nineties.

Read Pamela's full profile

Pamela Perks

Pamela Perks

Lecturer / Admissions Tutor

Pamela has worked in health care since the eighties starting her career on a children’s ward. The majority of her career though has been in Critical Care working in a variety of settings and specialties at Grimsby, Leeds and Papworth hospitals before coming to Birmingham’s Major Injuries Unit in the early nineties.

Read Pamela's full profile