Programme of change for education

We are modernising the standards for the education and training of nurses and midwives so they equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to practise now and in the future.

Nursing and midwifery practice today is different from nursing and midwifery practice a decade ago – we know it will change even more in the next 10 years.

We want to make sure that nurses and midwives are able to deliver high quality care, and that relies on the education and training that they receive.

Our standards set out how student nurses and midwives are educated and what skills and knowledge they need to have before they can join our register. As the health and care landscape changes, our standards need to change to keep up with the pace of change.

That is why we are in the middle of a major review of our standards which looks at what the public need from nurses and midwives in 2030 and beyond.

What do nurses think the future holds?

We asked nurses and student nurses what they think the future holds for their profession. This is what they told us.

What’s the latest?

Between June and September 2017 we consulted on changes that will affect the way that nurses and midwives are educated.

We sought views on:

We heard from more than 1000 people and from many organisations and we are now using that feedback to refine the standards.

We will report back on the feedback from the consultation and ask our Council to approve the new standards in spring 2018.

We anticipate that all our approved education institutions will adopt the new standards of proficiency for registered nurses by September 2019.

What happens next?

Future midwife

Professor Mary Renfrew is leading an important piece of work for us to develop standards of proficiency for midwives.

We are currently listening to midwives, families, students and educators across the UK to help us develop the new draft standards.

Nursing associates

In October 2015 the UK Government announced the establishment of a new care role in England, called a nursing associate. We have agreed to regulate the role and in spring 2018 we will also consult on draft standards of proficiency for nursing associates.


Because we are developing new education standards, the way our standards are delivered will change. We need to make sure the way we quality assure education is fit for purpose and gives us the confidence that people who apply to become nurses and midwives are receiving the education they need to meet our standards.

KPMG has undertaken an independent review of our quality assurance function. We will present options for a future model of QA to our Council for consideration in autumn 2017.