The Nursing and Midwifery Council has ratified proposals to make nursing an all-graduate profession yesterday.
In a historic move for nursing in the UK, a meeting of the NMC's ruling council meeting in London rubber-stamped six key principles for future nursing education standards.
The proposals, which will come into effect by 2015, state that 'the minimum academic award for pre-registration nursing programmes will be degree'.
A further principle says there should be a period of preceptorship to 'guide and support all newly qualified nurses to make the transition from student to develop their practice further'.
The move follows a consultation held by the regulator over the future of nursing.The consultation was part of the Modernising Nursing Careers initiative, which is designed to create a nursing workforce for the 21st century.
All proposals discussed at the meeting are subject to amendment.
Stakeholders are split over the decision, with the RCN in favour of a move to all-graduate nursing and Unison against.