Please visit nmc.org.uk/COVID19 for information about our recent announcements including temporary registration and changes to how we’re operating during this time.

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We understand that students, approved education institutions and their practice partners are experiencing unprecedented challenges.

Student nurses, midwives and nursing associates provide a significant contribution to nursing and midwifery teams and the delivery of safe, effective and person-centred care whilst on placement.

We’re absolutely committed to supporting the safe placement of students in practice so that they can contribute to the care of people.

Changes we’ve made

We’ve introduced a set of emergency standards to:

  • enable student nurses and midwives in the final six months of their programme to complete their training in appropriate placement settings
  • give education institutions and their practice learning partners more flexibility to ensure students get appropriate support and supervision
  • enable students to use their knowledge and skills appropriately during this time of crisis to support the care of people

Read the emergency standards for nursing and midwifery education.

We will continue to work with education institutions as they work to implement these with their students where appropriate.

What this means for students

Our emergency standards enable more flexibility to ensure students get appropriate support and supervision.

Approved education institutions (AEIs) and their practice partners will be regularly reviewing risks and communicating any impact this might have on their students to us.

Below is a table that outlines the different options for students depending on where you are in your education.

Available optionWill I still be classed as a student?Will I be remunerated (paid)?How will my university be involved?
Options for all students
You may complete your programme under existing "normal" NMC standards Yes No No changes to the programme situation.

Your university will need to consider whether the requirements under these standards, such as supernumerary status, can be achieved and what the advice for you would be if this isn't possible.
You may defer your programme and complete your studies once the emergency period is over No, not while you're deferring your programme No This would follow your normal university policies and procedures when you choose to defer for any reason.
You may defer your programme and undertake paid clinical work (for example, working as a health care support worker) or voluntary clinical work No, not while you're deferring your programme This will be subject to the arrangements made with your employer Your university should follow the usual policies and procedures when students choose to defer for any reason.

It's not expected that your hours would count towards your programme unless they meet the university's recognition of prior learning (RPL) requirements.
Options for first year students
Under our emergency programme standards, you may complete your first year with up to 100% of your year in theoretical learning.

The required clinical hours will be met across the rest of your programme. 
Yes No Normal processes apply.

Your university may have to adapt the programme, including assessments to enable more practical learning in following years, with the objective of allowing you to complete your programme on time.
Options for students in their second year, first six months of their final year of pre-registration nursing and midwifery programmes, and those in the first year of a post-graduate nursing and midwifery programmes
Under our emergency programme standards, you may spend up to 80% of your year in clinical placements Yes, but supernumerary status during the emergency period would not be required.

However, you should be appropriately supported and supervised and have protected learning time.
Yes, in line with the guidance from the Department of Health (and Social Care) of the respective country You would remain on your programme.

Your university and practice learning partners would need to work together to try and match their students' learning needs with the workforce requirements, and agree mechanisms to ensure that learning outcomes are met, appropriate supervision is provided and competencies are signed off.
Options for students in the final six months of their pre-registration nursing and midwifery programmes
Under our emergency programme standards, you may complete your programme in clinical placements if you're in the final six months of your programme Yes, but supernumerary status during the emergency period would not be required.

However, you should be appropriately supported and supervised and have protected learning time.
Yes, in line with the guidance from the Department of Health (and Social Care) of the respective country You would remain on your programme.

Your university and practice learning partners would work together to try and match their students' learning needs with the workforce requirements, and agree mechanisms to ensure that learning outcomes are met, appropriate supervision is provided and competencies are signed off to complete the programme at the expected time.

If not met, then you would need to extend your studies after the emergency period.

Emergency registration for nursing students

With the support of the four UK Chief Nursing Officers, the Council of Deans of Health, the Royal Colleges and the trade unions, we've closely monitored the ongoing and future workforce requirements and the progression of the pandemic.

Informed by the views of these partners and our assessment of the current situation, we’ve made the decision not to open up the temporary register to nursing students. We've made this decision based on three key reasons:

  • The nature of the Covid-19 pandemic has changed. In March, our priority was to make sure there were as many people as possible who would be available to deal with the anticipated short term pressures on services. Although Covid-19 has been devastating for thousands of families and communities, our services have not been overwhelmed in the way we initially feared.
  • A high number of students have decided to opt-in to extend their clinical placements. The feedback we've received from our professional partners and students demonstrate that these placements are working to allow students to support services while also completing their learning.
  • Deployment of professionals on the temporary register has not been at the level we expected.

It's clear to us that there will be a need for qualified nursing and midwifery professionals to support services in the medium to long term. Therefore, our priority is to ensure students are supported to complete their education, and begin their careers as qualified, registered professionals as planned.

We’ve discussed this decision with the Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Midwives, UNISON and Unite. Your university will be able to support you during this time.

The response and cooperation of nursing and midwifery students during this time has been phenomenal. It fills us with real confidence for the future of our professions, and we would like to thank you for everything you are doing.

Apprenticeships (England only)

Nursing and midwifery apprenticeships

The emergency standards will apply to both students undertaking a nursing or midwifery degree apprenticeship (NDA and MDA).

Our emergency standards enable you to undertake an extended placement if you’re in the last six months of your final year. You will need to discuss this with your employer and educational institution who will let you know if you can undertake an extended placement with them.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, your employer might need to deploy you to support the workforce, which might affect how your programme is delivered and its duration. If you’re employed, your education institutions will need to work with employers to support any changes to the way their programmes are delivered. This might mean that some courses are deferred.

Nursing associate apprenticeships

Some of our emergency standards apply to all NMC approved education programmes, and therefore will apply to our approved nursing associate (NA) programmes.

However, we do recognise that most nursing associate students are on apprenticeship based programmes, and many employers may call their students back into practice during the emergency period. This might mean that some courses are deferred.

End Point Assessments

If you’re due to take your End Point Assessment as a NDA, MDA or NA, the The Institute for Apprenticeships is supporting new flexibilities. These are for Registered Nurse (RN) Degree Apprentices and Nursing Associate (NA) Apprentices that reflect the adjustments we have made with regard to professional registration in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

With immediate effect and during the Covid-19 emergency, any RN and NA apprentices who have completed the NMC approved programme; been assessed by the NMC as having permanently met the requirements for Professional Registration; and passed through the apprenticeship gateway will be regarded to have met the EPA requirements and have achieved their apprenticeship.

This change will only be applied to qualifying apprentices during the Covid-19 emergency. If you have concerns you should seek advice from your education institution and your employer about this. You can find more information about this in the goverment's latest guidance or through The Institute for Apprenticeships

Information for education institutions

Any changes made by educational institutions to accommodate NDA, MDA, and NA students to work in practice should be accounted for and reported to us using the Covid-19 exceptional reporting form.

Post-registration programmes

As registered nurses and midwives, we know that being in the position to contribute to the nursing and midwifery workforce during this time might affect your studies. Currently, maximising the workforce is our priority, but we recognise this could prolong how long it takes to complete a programme.

Education institutions will need to report any changes to the programmes, or risks because of the change, with our Covid-19 exceptional reporting form.

Prescribing programmes

Nurses and midwives on prescribing programmes will contribute to the delivery of care in their usual place of work or be deployed as necessary by their employer.

We encourage students to continue their programme to completion by working closely with the education institution's, who can continue to provide support theory and practice. This might be achieved by changing the mode of delivery and assessment for the programme while making sure it meets our standards during the emergency period.

Programmes might need to be deferred until after the emergency period is over, if it's not possible to support student's prescribing practice under supervision.

Special Community Public Health Nursing (SCPHN)

Most students on the SCPHN programme will likely be in a position to contribute to the delivery of care in their current place of work.

Where possible, we encourage students and employers to continue their programme to completion. We know that people working in these areas are already being redeployed and are reducing the number of contact hours in people's homes. Programmes might have to be deferred until the emergency period is over if supervision and practice learning on these programmes isn't possible.

Specialist Practice Qualification

Registered nurses and midwives undertaking a specialist practice qualification may contribute to the delivery of care in their usual place of work or be deployed as necessary by employers.

We encourage students to continue their programme to completion. This will mean working closely with their education institutes which may be able to continue to support theory and practice by changing the modes of delivery and assessment for the programme while making sure it meets our standards.

 

Find out the answers to your frequently asked questions