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NMC proposes dropping time limits for completing nurse training


The Nursing and Midwifery Council is considering the removal of time limits for the completion of education programmes for students.

The regulator has today launched a consultation on revoking education standards with maximum time limits.

Currently, student nurses and midwives are required to finish full-time programmes within five years and part-time programmes within seven years in order to be eligible for registration.

“Removing time limits from our education standards would ensure that education institutions provide flexibility for students”

Jackie Smith

The NMC proposes to remove these time limits from its standards, transferring full responsibility for the management of education programmes to lie with education institutions.

Post-registration programmes, which are currently given time limits either by the NMC or by the specific education institution, will also be affected by the proposed changes.

The removal of time limits enables greater flexibility for students ensuring that no individual is disadvantaged if unforeseen events interrupt their studies, said the NMC.

The education institutions are “best placed” to oversee students’ involvement in their programmes, the regulator said in consultation documents proposing the change.

Jackie Smith, NMC chief executive and registrar, said: “This is an important consultation and we are keen to hear views.

“Removing time limits from our education standards would ensure that education institutions provide flexibility for students without compromising public protection,” she said.

The consultation on the proposed changes will take place between 15 January and 12 March.


Readers' comments (6)

  • I think removing time limits would potentially affect the quality of the said nurse and the retention of knowledge learned. How can you expect someone to remember and confidently apply knowledge that they learned over 5 years before? Especially if they have had a gap in their training. This will inevitably affect the level of care which is given to patients

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  • A retrograde step.

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  • I completed my training just before the five year limit due to illness, so I'm grateful I had the chance to complete my studies. However I think getting rid of the limit altogether would be a bad idea. The content and delivery of nursing courses sometimes differs each year and it would be hard to ensure consistency in the theory learned from the student.

    Also I gather education institutions would be given control over time limits, but what's to stop someone coasting through their training over a period of ten years, say?

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  • Mixed feelings - whilst enabling a competent student nurse to qualify even if have had to take significant time out from their training for e.g. illness/unforeseen events, I agree with the other 3 commenters in being concerned at it's removal without other criteria being added e.g extra practice hours to ensure, just like registered nurses have to to re-register, that they've done enough hours within a recent timeframe to be fit to practice.

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  • Just to point out that the Universities providing the training will have their own limits on total duration of study for all qualifications. These may vary from institution to institution.

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  • There will still be limits.. just not overseen by the NMC!

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