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Nursing and Midwifery Council. Open council – 25 January 2023. Council papers. 2023. (accessed 27 June 2023)

Major change to nursing and doctor degrees in bid to plug NHS shortages. 2023. (accessed 27 June 2023)

Updating the standards should not mean moving the goalposts

06 July 2023
Volume 32 · Issue 13


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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