The Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) said the changes “will give educators the flexibility to deliver courses at the cutting edge of nursing and midwifery education.”


  • For nursing only, the NMC are increasing flexibility around use of simulated practice learning. Education institutions will now be able to run innovative simulation for 600 of the 2,300 practice learning hours that students need. Simulation methods are becoming increasingly sophisticated, helping students to build their confidence and skills in situations they may not encounter frequently in practice.
  • The NMC are giving education institutions more flexibility to set their own robust entry requirements – including removing the need for at least 12 years’ general education before starting a nursing or midwifery programme. Removing this will make a career in nursing or midwifery a reality for more people, such as refugees and those from travelling communities.
  • The NMC are removing EU stipulations about the settings in which nursing and midwifery practice placements must take place. This will allow students to do all their practice learning in the settings most relevant to them.
  • The NMC are proposing a new midwifery standard to ensure students gain experience with a range of maternity providers and teams.

The changes were informed by more than 6,200 people and partners that shared “their initial views”, followed by 2,500 responses to a public consultation. 

Andrea Sutcliffe, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, said:

“It’s essential that nursing and midwifery education is accessible to the broadest possible range of students and prepares them to meet people’s changing and increasingly complex needs. That’s why we’ve drawn on evidence and best practice to propose changes that will widen access to courses and give students the best possible education that enables them to provide excellent care to people.

“We’re grateful to everyone who has collaborated with us to reach this point. Thousands of people and partners have shared their views and expertise, and we’re reassured by the support for our proposals. We’ll keep students, educators, and our stakeholders updated about these changes and any further work as we move forward and explore even more flexible options.”

Professor Jean White CBE, Chair of the Future Programme Standards Steering Group, said:

“It has been rewarding to see how the opportunities presented to us have enabled the NMC to make improvements to the nursing and midwifery programme standards. I would like to thank the Steering Group members for their enthusiasm and hard work; it has been excellent being able to co-produce these updated standards with a range of skilled professionals from across the four countries and from across the health and social care sector.”

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