Executive Director of Professional Practice, Nursing and Midwifery Council, considers the question of changes to the standards for nursing education, and what underpins these
In May, Thomas (2023) wrote a piece for the Independent, claiming that a leaked government report showed plans for major changes to shorten medical and nursing degrees in a bid to plug NHS shortages. A ‘source’ was quoted as saying:
‘There's a push to get as many nurses through as possible. I despair, the reason a [nurses' degree] programme is three [years] is because this is how we are regulated. The change in education that is needed is going to require a regulatory body to approve that, and that is a consultation process and that can't be done overnight.’
Thomas' source is right, it is not government who will decide what educational requirements a registered nurse, midwife or nursing associate requires to gain entry to the register. It is our professional regulator, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), that has a statutory duty to maintain and revise the standards for education and training to ensure that they are fit for purpose and continue to protect the public.
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