NMC launches a review of nursing and midwifery practice learning

Published on 09 January 2024

Supporting our future professionals: we’re undertaking research to explore how we can best support student learning across the UK.

The NMC is commissioning independent research into nursing and midwifery students’ practice learning requirements. The aim is to recognise and acknowledge innovation, and ensure that our requirements continue to equip students with the knowledge and skills to deliver the best possible care for people across a diverse range of care settings. This follows changes to our education programme standards in January 2023.

What is practice learning and what will the research involve?

Nursing and midwifery students need to undertake practice learning placements as part of their education. It helps them to develop professional behaviours and gain the experiences they need to deliver safe, kind and effective care when they qualify.

Practice learning accounts for 50 per cent of nursing and midwifery programmes. For nursing it can also include up to 600 hours of simulated practice learning.

We’ll review practice learning requirements for both nursing and midwifery before deciding if we need to make any changes. The independent research will involve:

  • looking at what contributes to effective practice learning across the UK and in other countries
  • exploring how practice learning varies in other countries and the factors behind this
  • working with our stakeholders, including the public and people who use services, to understand if there are any further areas within practice learning that we need to explore.

The review will also be informed by our quality assurance activity, including how changes to simulated practice learning are being delivered for nursing programmes.

A Chair to lead our external steering group

We’re seeking an independent Chair of an external steering group, consisting of our key partners in UK health and social care. The group will guide our independent research, and review any proposals before we submit them to our Council for consideration.

The closing date for applications is 30 January 2024. To find out more and apply for the role, please visit our recruitment page.

Sam Foster, NMC Executive Director for Professional Practice, said:

“Today’s students are tomorrow’s professionals at the heart of health and social care. We have a responsibility to make sure they’re equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to improve people’s health and wellbeing, and practice learning is key to this.

“Demand for care is rising, and people’s care needs are constantly evolving. The independent research we’re undertaking will ensure that together with education institutions and practice learning partners, we’re continuing to support and prepare students to be the best nursing and midwifery professionals they can be when they qualify - delivering high-quality, person-centred care across different sectors and settings.

“Input from our partners, including the public, will be invaluable and we look forward to gathering views over the coming months. We’ll keep everyone updated as our work progresses.”

If you’d like to be kept up to date with our progress, and be notified of any opportunities to get involved, please sign up to our community of interest

Further information

  • More detail about why and how we reviewed our education programme standards from 2021-23 can be found here.
  • Information about simulated practice learning can be found here.

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