In response to the ongoing Covid-19 situation, we've introduced a number of emergency and recovery education standards to support students, approved education institutions (AEIs) and their practice partners.
These are temporary changes to the standards which set out how education providers should organise nursing and midwifery programmes.
Recent changes to the standards
We withdrew our remaining emergency standards on 30 September 2021. Our recovery standards are still in place for AEIs to use.
We’re continuing to monitor the pandemic, working closely with our partners and the sector, to see if any emergency standards need to be re-instated, or additional recovery standards need to be added.
Applying these standards
A key principle in relation to all of our emergency and recovery standards is that normal education should continue wherever possible.
Where that’s not possible, AEIs have the option to apply these standards to their programmes.
We ask them to report back to us about how they’re doing this and how they’re maintaining practice learning opportunities and ensuring students achieve their proficiencies.
If you’re a student, you should speak to your university if you have any questions about your practice learning and placements.
Training and practice hours
All courses must still comply with the minimum training hours' requirements of 4600 programme hours.
For nursing programmes, the amount of practice learning time spent in simulated practice learning experience can be up to a maximum of 300 hours across a programme’s duration where the recovery standards have been adopted. Student nurses’ final placement before registration, though, should be in a conventional clinical placement.
Background to these changes
Introduction of emergency and recovery standards
At the start of the pandemic we introduced emergency education standards to allow more flexibility in programme delivery - specifically to allow students to undertake extended placements without the requirement for supernumerary status to support the health and care workforce.
We phased out the majority of the emergency standards on 30 September 2020 to support students returning to their normal studies and supernumerary placements.
We identified a number of emergency programme standards which were kept as recovery standards.
Updates to our emergency standards
Following a request from the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in January 2021, we re-introduced a set of emergency standards to allow extended placements for final year nursing students only, so that they could once again support the response to Covid-19 where required by services and if students opted to do so.
This did not apply to all other undergraduate nursing and midwifery students and post-graduate diploma/masters students, who continued to have supernumerary status when on clinical placements.
These emergency standards were withdrawn in May 2021.
We also agreed to introduce two additional emergency standards relating to first year nursing and midwifery students and supervision and assessment in practice, following advice from the service and AEIs about some of the difficulties they faced in supporting student clinical placements.
These emergency standards were withdrawn on 30 September 2021.
Introduction of a new recovery standard
In February 2021, after engaging with our partners across the UK, we introduced an additional recovery standard to enable nursing students to practice and learn through simulated practice learning where conventional clinical practice isn’t available or isn’t possible.
Information for students and educators
Visit our Covid-19: Information for students and educators page for more information on what this means for you.