How we ensure good training

Training nurses and midwives

There are separate standards of pre-registration education for nurses and for midwives, both of which are degree-level programmes. Only programmes approved by us will lead to registration as a nurse or midwife.

The standards explain the knowledge, skills and attitudes that students must have gained by the end of their programme. They also describe the quality assurance (QA) framework within which programmes must be delivered.

Requirements in the standards include the following.

• All pre-registration programmes must be no less than three years of full-time study, with the exception of specific midwifery programmes which can be undertaken by registered nurses (level 1) and completed in 18 months.

• At least half of all midwifery training must take place in clinical settings. This must include both hospital and community settings.

• Half of all nursing training must take place in clinical settings, which can include the home, community, hospitals, the independent sector and voluntary organisations.

• Programme providers must make sure that students are of ‘good health and good character’ when they are admitted to a programme, at progression points and upon course completion. Good health and good character relate to honesty, trustworthiness, conduct, behaviour and attitude.

Nursing programme curricula must include these five groups of essential skills:

• care, compassion and communication
• organisational aspects of care
• infection prevention and control
• nutrition and fluid management, and
• medicines management.

The essential skills for midwifery programmes cover:

• communication
• initial consultation between the midwife and the woman
• normal labour and birth
• initiation and continuation of breastfeeding, and
• medicinal products management.

Before a student can be registered with us, upon graduation their university must provide us with course completion details and a declaration of good health and good character.

We also set standards for some programmes for nurses and midwives in specialist areas of practice that require training at post-registration level.

More information

Standards for pre-registration education