Simulation and student learning: will NMC policy lead to lasting change?
Emeritus Professor Alan Glasper, from the University of Southampton, discusses a new initiative from the Nursing and Midwifery Council to increase clinical learning through simulation during the COVID-19 pandemic
On 18 February 2021 the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) published details of updated policy to help nursing students achieve the mandatory competencies necessary for registration amid the ongoing clinical practice constraints during the COVID-19 pandemic (NMC, 2021a). All student nurses studying at an approved education institute (AEI) will be able to replace up to 300 hours of clinical practice hours with simulation activity. The NMC has issued this new directive in the form of an educational recovery standard to give those offering nursing programmes greater flexibility in meeting the NMC current stipulations on mandatory practice hours.
In response to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic, in early 2020 the NMC introduced a set of emergency standards for nursing and midwifery education, many of which were lifted after the first national lockdown. The ongoing pandemic is still constraining the opportunities for students to gain experience and learn in real-life situations and has led the NMC (2021b) to issue a further directive to help educational institutions meet their legal obligations with regard to providing students with specified hours of clinical practice.
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