Standards for prescribing programmes

Part 3 of Realising professionalism: Standards for education and training

Prescribing programmes

Our Standards for prescribing programmes (Cymraeg) came into effect 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.

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

Using the standards

Educational institutions must comply with these standards in order to run any NMC-approved programme.

Student prescribers in the UK must successfully complete an NMC-approved, post-registration prescribing programme in order for an annotation to be made on the NMC register.

It's important to read these standards along with the Standards framework for nursing and midwifery educationStandards for student supervision and assessment and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS) A Competency Framework for Prescribers.

Reading them together provides a complete picture of:

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

Supervision and assessment for nurse and midwife prescribing students

Under these new standards, prescribing students can be supervised and assessed by any registered healthcare professional (including a nurse or midwife) who is an experienced prescriber with suitable equivalent qualifications for the programme the student is undertaking.

This role was previously only held by a medical doctor registered with the General Medical Council (known as Designated Medical Practitioners).

The change will apply to all NMC approved prescribing programmes from September 2020.

Guidance for supervisors and assessors

We’ve worked with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and other professional healthcare regulators to develop new guidance for those taking on this supervisory and assessing role.

This key role ensures that student prescribers have demonstrated their ability to practise safely and effectively before their qualification is awarded and they can begin prescribing in their own right.

In this guidance, the RPS refers to those fulfilling this new role collectively as Designated Prescribing Practitioners (DPPs).

View the Competency Framework for Designated Prescribing Practitioners on the RPS website.

Becoming a prescriber

Read our page on becoming a prescriber to find out more about the entry requirements of prescribing programmes under our new standards.

Answering your questions

From 28 January 2019, we’re approving all prescribing programmes against the new Standards for prescribing programmes.

Students already on programmes being delivered under the Standards of proficiency for nurse and midwife prescribers (2006) will continue on their programme under the 2006 standards and will meet the requirements for annotation against their current NMC registration on successful completion of the programme.

Programmes with approvals under the 2006 standards will continue to meet our registration requirements and can be delivered until the 31 August 2020. From 1 September 2020, only programmes approved against the new standards for prescribing programmes will be able to accept new students and to meet our requirements for registration.

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

It depends on your chosen approved education institution (AEI). Students can undertake a programme approved against either standards until 31 August 2020. From 1 September, the only approved prescribing programmes will be those approved against the new standards.

You should speak with your education provider to find out which standards your programme is being delivered against and which requirements are in place as a result.

All approved education institutions (AEIs) will need to meet the requirements for approval against these new standards by 1 September 2020.

They’ll need to develop their curriculum in partnership with their practice partners to ensure compliance with all the significant changes in the framework for education of nurses and midwives (for example, student assessment).

The programme will need to be approved against the new standards by 31 August 2020. After 1 September 2020, only programmes approved against the new standards for prescribing programmes will be able to accept new students and to meet our requirements for registration.