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Standards for pre-registration nursing programmes

Part 3 of Realising professionalism: Standards for education and training

Pre-reg nursing

Please note our new standards may be used from
28 January 2019. Helpful FAQs can be found at the bottom of this page but if you can’t find what you’re looking for, feel free to email us.

Our new Standards for pre-registration nursing programmes (Cymraeg) set out the entry requirements, length of programme, methods of assessment and the level of award. This is important information for nurses in training and education providers.

Education institutions must comply with our standards to be approved to run any NMC-approved programmes.

Student nurses must successfully complete an NMC-approved pre-registration programme in order to meet the Standards of proficiency for registered nurses and join our register.

The student journey

  1. Selection, admission and progression 
    Standards about an applicant’s suitability and continued participation in a pre-registration nursing programme
  2. Curriculum
    Standards for the content, delivery and evaluation of the pre-registration nursing programme
  3. Practice learning
    Standards specific to pre-registration learning for nurses that takes place in practice settings
  4. Supervision and assessment
    Standards for safe and effective supervision and assessment of students on pre-registration nursing programmes
  5. Qualification to be awarded
    Standards about the academic award and registering the student’s award with us.

This document is available in a print friendly version (Cymraeg)

Using the standards

It's important to read these standards along with other parts of Realising professionalism: Standards for education and training:

Part 1: Standards framework for nursing and midwifery education; and
Part 2: Standards for student supervision and assessment

and Future nurse: Standards of proficiency for registered nurses.

Reading them together provides a complete picture of:

  • what nurses need to know and be able to do, by the time they register with us, and
  • Our expectations of approved education institutions and their practice placement partners for delivering NMC-approved programmes for nurses and midwives.

How these standards were developed

For the past two years we have been developing these standards with input from stakeholders across the UK. We put our proposals to consultation in summer 2017 and listened closely to the feedback we received. Find out more about how the standards were developed.

We’re planning to start the approval process for programmes delivering these new standards later this year. From 28 January 2019 all approvals will be made against these new standards.

After 1 September 2020, only programmes approved against these new standards will be able to accept new students and meet our requirements for award and registration.

Students already on programmes will continue under the present standards and will meet the requirements for annotation against their current NMC registration.

Your chosen approved education institution (AEI) will be able to confirm the standards to which your programme complies.

If you’re starting your new course in September 2018, your programme will be approved against the pre-2018 standards.

From 28 January 2019, we’ll gradually approve new programmes against the new standards.

Your chosen approved education institution (AEI) will be able to confirm the standards to which your programme complies.

Students can start a programme against either standards until the end of August 2020. After that date, new students will only join programmes approved against the new standards.

We have a listing of Approved Programmes.  You may also contact the relevant AEI for the status of approval of their programme.

Approved programmes

All approved education institutions (AEIs) will need to meet the requirements for approval against the new standards. They will need to develop their curriculum in partnership with their practice partners to ensure compliance with all the significant changes, such as student assessment.

The programme will need to be approved against the new standards by the end of August 2020.

Simulated teaching is educationally valuable to students and provides them with the opportunity to learn in a safe environment and should be included within the curriculum in a proportionate way.

However, only simulated experiences which involves direct contact with a healthy or sick individual and/or community can be counted as practice hours under the EU directive.

Simulation environments which do not involve healthy or sick individuals (human beings) cannot be counted as practice hours.

To practise effectively, registered nurses need to have a level of knowledge of all four fields of nursing practice. This will help them to be more effective in caring and supporting people and their families who have diverse needs who may present in any setting.

Registered nurses are qualified in a specific field of practice, so it's expected that their training and experience will be predominantly based in that field of practice.

Although students are required to have some experience of practice across all four fields, it does not mean that students are expected to have a placement in all four fields.