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Universities given more time to update nursing courses under new standards from regulator

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Universities are set to be given more time by the regulator to introduce revised pre-registration nursing courses in line with new education standards.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council previously said all universities would need to ensure courses were revamped by September 2019.

“No students will be entitled to commence a programme approved against the 2010 nursing standards from September 2020”

NMC council papers

But under proposals in NMC council papers published last week that are expected to be approved on Wednesday, the regulator has altered the timeline and states all universities must ensure new courses are running by September 2020.

The regulator has confirmed to Nursing Times that the change would allow universities running both nursing and midwifery courses to have programmes approved around the same time by the regulator, instead of staggering the process.

But it said universities that wanted to introduce updated nursing courses earlier than September 2020 would be able to do so from January 2019 onwards, if approved by the NMC by that point.

“All students enrolling on an NMC-approved programme from September 2020 will join under the new standards. The deadline for adoption of the standards aligns well with the timelines for drafting the midwifery proficiencies.

”That will particularly work for those universities that run both nursing and midwifery programmes,” an NMC spokesman said in response to Nursing Times.

The NMC is overhauling its standards for both pre-registration nursing and midwifery education. But work to update midwifery training was delayed by about a year due to wider legislation changes affecting supervision – meaning universities will not have to introduce updated midwifery courses until 2020.

In council papers due to be discussed at an NMC meeting next week on 28 March, the regulator laid out its transitional arrangements for introducing new standards for nurse training, which will replace the version from 2010.

“All nursing education providers must be approved against the new standards by September 2020. No students will be entitled to commence a programme approved against the 2010 nursing standards from September 2020,” said the papers.

The NMC council will decide next week whether to approve the transitional arrangements.

At the same meeting, the council will also decide whether to approve revised proficiencies for nurses, updated student assessment requirements, new prescribing standards, and the planned removal of medicines management standards, which have also all recently been consulted on.

In addition, the council will decide whether to launch a consultation on nursing associate education standards, which have been released in the same council papers this week.

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