First aid and management of serious incidents such as road accidents is to be formally taught to trainee nurses, as new pre-registration standards are published.
Nurses, who are expected to know first-aid principles already, will now be given more training on it than what was previously required.
The new standards have been drawn up in collaboration with the British Red Cross and St John Ambulance charities.
More prominence is being given to first aid skills, and “incident management” will be taught to trainees for the first time.
Garth Long, who led the review of pre-registration standards at the Nursing and Midwifery Council, said the public expects nurses to cope in crises.
He said universities will still be able to decide how first aid is taught.
Mr Long went on: “Incident management is also now included, which is how you would organise yourself if there was an incident like a car accident.
“This includes questions like: Who is injured? Who is the priority? Who needs my care first? What do I need to do? And who do I need to call?”
He said the council is not saying that nurses are sent out to attend incidents but rather that nurses can be better prepared to deal with emergencies.
Nurses are confident when working in a properly equipped hospital ward, so the new standards are said to be intended to cover their ability to cope in other situations.
Mr Long said: “This is more about public expectation.”