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NMC to explore nurse education reform recommendations


The Nursing and Midwifery Council is to look into the possibility of implementing recommendations from a recent wide-ranging review of nurse education, which included the suggestion that undergraduates should spend more time on general training before specialising.

The Shape of Caring Review, which published its findings in March, questioned whether the current model of degree training – in which students specialise in either adult, children’s, mental health or learning disability nursing – was fit for the future.

“I think there is a general acceptance that there is a problem [with nurse training] that needs to be solved”

Jackie Smith

It said the regulator should explore a new model of training that would see student nurses spend two years on general training before moving onto a specialism, which could also include new fields such as community nursing.

A required year of preceptorship after graduating should also be looked into, said the review, which included 34 recommendations in total and was chaired by Lord Willis of Knaresborough.



At their meeting yesterday, NMC council members endorsed a scoping exercise to look into what steps would be required if the regulator were to introduce any of the Willis review’s recommendations in the future.

However, it was noted that a potential barrier might come from the fact that the Shape of Caring Review applied to England only, whereas any changes introduced by the NMC would affect the whole of the UK.

Lord Willis

Lord Willis

“As part of this piece of work we want to engage with the four countries to get their views. We hear different things – sometimes we hear the four countries are not united on these recommendations and sometimes we hear they are,” said NMC chief executive and registrar Jackie Smith.

“I think there is a general acceptance that there is a problem [with nurse training] that needs to be solved,” she said. “How we do that and the best way of doing it, picking up good practice from each of the countries I think is the right way.”

The NMC said it would report its findings from the scoping exercise in November, when it is also expected to publish results from an independent evaluation of its standards for pre-registration nursing and midwifery training.


Readers' comments (3)

  • Senior HCA role a bridge to Nurse training? Will we see a bridge for dental assistants to become Dentists? Vet nurses immediately offered shortened courses to becoming vets?
    Must be the only profession not demanding improved qualifications instead of addressing real issues i.e too many patients to to few Registered Nurses.

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  • As I have said before, why would a prospective student wanting to go into children's nursing, benefit from 2 years general training?

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  • Any one remember Enrolled nurses?
    Required less qualifications to enter a shorter course?
    Many chose to convert to RN to improve career prospects.
    It appears we are reinventing this role.....

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