Outgoing CNO Alex McMahon to lead NMC pre-registration practice learning review steering group

Published on 16 April 2024

Professor Alex McMahon, the outgoing Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) for Scotland, has been appointed as Chair of the independent steering group for our review of nursing and midwifery practice learning.

The steering group will discuss and review evidence and emerging draft proposals around this work. It will advise our Executive Board, and help shape any options before we submit them to our Council for consideration. 

The group will include key stakeholders from across the UK, including representatives from the four CNO and CMO (Chief Midwifery Officer) offices, professional education bodies, approved education institutions (AEIs) practice learning partners (PLPs), employers, representative bodies, members of the public, students, and unions. 

As the CNO for Scotland, and former Executive Director for Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Healthcare Professionals in NHS Lothian, Alex will bring considerable knowledge and experience to his position as independent Chair. Other notable roles include his work on the Scottish Government’s Nursing and Midwifery Taskforce, and involvement in key policy areas, including infection prevention control.  Alex will be retiring from his current position as the CNO for Scotland this month.  

Our next steps 

We have appointed The Nuffield Trust to carry out independent research for our review to understand what contributes to effective practice learning across the UK and in other countries. These findings will help us to ensure that students can learn and adapt to the changes we see across health and care, and continually deliver safe, effective and kind care once they qualify.  

As part of the review, we will be calling for examples of innovation and collaboration in practice learning. This will enable AEIs and their PLPs to share insights into the ways they support students, and manage student learning in practice.  We will assess the benefits of these examples, and may explore some of them further in pilot sites so that we can learn more about their potential impact.  

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

“Our pre-registration programme standards underpin safe and effective practice learning, which is key to equipping students with the knowledge and skills needed to deliver high quality, evidence-based care for people when they qualify. Our aim is to promote inclusive learning cultures that innovate and promote professional practice. That’s why I’m delighted that Alex McMahon has agreed to lead our independent steering group. 

“Alex’s extensive career and leadership experience across health and care means that he is absolutely the right person to lead this group in helping to shape future proposals. This will be for the benefit of our future students and, ultimately, those who receive care. I look forward to working closely with Alex and the rest of our steering group members, as well as our partners, members of the public and students over the coming months.” 

Professor Alex McMahon, Chair of the independent steering group, said: 

“I am delighted to have been appointed to the role as Independent Chair for what is a hugely important review. The review itself has the potential to fundamentally change the way in which we construct and deliver our undergraduate nursing and midwifery programmes in the future.  

“I look forward to working with and hearing the views of as many individuals and organisations as possible, as it is incumbent on us all to ensure that we share our views and experience and that we look to evidence from across the world to shape our thoughts and recommendations. This is a hugely privileged opportunity and I hope I do the review justice as Chair.” 

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 information about our practice learning review can be found here 

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