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Senior nurses urge profession to have their say on proposed education changes

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Four of the country’s leading nurses are urging members of the profession to take part in a “vital” consultation on major changes to education.

The new pre-registration training standards aim to reflect the increasing complexity of tasks carried out by nurses as they work more closely with other professions, said the senior figures, who called on nurses to discuss the draft standards within their teams and organisations.

“The changes proposed are in response to the unique challenges we face day to day in our different places of work”

Joint statement

The group, which comprises chief nursing officer for England Jane Cummings, Ruth May, deputy CNO and executive director of nursing at regulator NHS Improvement, Professor Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, director of nursing at workforce body Health Education England, and Hilary Garratt, deputy CNO for England.

“We also ask that education providers and practice learning environments work in partnership, and give some thought to how things might potentially work differently over the next one to two years, and feed that into the [consultation] responses,” said the nurse leaders in a joint statement issued this week. 

The education changes, put forward by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, include more prescribing theory at an undergraduate level and the requirement for all students to be competent in an extensive list of technical skills.

As previously reported by Nursing Times, the changes could also see a potential reduction of placement hours and an increase in the use simulation activities.

In addition, the NMC plans to alter the way mentoring works, so that students can be supervised in practice by any registered health or social care professional. But their learning will be judged by a “nominated practice assessor” and also a “nominated academic assessor”, both required to be a registered nurse or midwife.

“The health and care landscape is changing at an unprecedented rate and it’s likely that these challenges will only become greater”

Joint statement

“The changes proposed are in response to the unique challenges we face day-to-day in our different places of work,” said the senior nurses.

“The health and care landscape is changing at an unprecedented rate and it’s likely that these challenges will only become greater as the population continues to age and the need for more localised care grows,” they said.

“If you haven’t done so already please take the time to respond to the consultation,” they added in the statement.

All universities are expected to offer updated courses under the news standards by September 2019 – though some may be given the option bring in the changes a year earlier.

The NMC also plans to revise midwifery training standards, which are set to be introduced by September 2020, but regulatory changes around midwifery supervision have caused delays.

The NMC consultation on changes to nurse education closes on 12 September.

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