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RCN position on the use of simulation-based learning in pre and post registration education

Published: 29 March 2021
Last updated: 29 March 2021
Abstract: RCN position on the use of simulation-based learning in pre and post registration education

The NMC has introduced a set of emergency and recovery standards for nursing and midwifery education in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (NMC 2021). 

Recovery standard RN5 refers to the use of virtual and simulation-based learning opportunities “where there is insufficient direct contact with healthy or ill people in communities in audited practice learning placements available for students to meet learning outcomes”.

This allows students to undertake up to 300 hours of simulated learning of the overall 2300 practice learning hours. This is additional to the simulation delivered presently within NMC approved programmes through Approved Education Institutions (AEIs).

The emergency and recovery standards are optional, and each AEI throughout the UK will decide whether they will introduce these standards locally.

The NMC will ask AEIs to report back to them about how they are applying the recovery standards and how they are maintaining students practice learning opportunities and ensuring achievement of proficiencies.

Simulation is a broad and growing field covering many different modalities. It is expanding into new areas with immersive technologies which have the potential to change healthcare education positively. For example, students can gain experience of work environments that are continually being shaped by technology-enabled healthcare services and gain further skills and knowledge of digital health care provision.

The NMC will review the recovery standards regularly.

RCN position

 The RCN will work with national bodies to disseminate good practice and promote the voice of nursing among education providers in the design and development of learning. 

Simulation based learning must be quality assured. Adopting a standards framework to guide the development and implementation of simulation-based learning in nursing across the U.K. is essential to ensure the safety, effectiveness, and consistency of approach.

There must be adequate staffing and resources to facilitate the education and training provided to academic and practice supervisors supporting student attainment of competence through simulated learning offers.  

Student should have the necessary equipment and training to reduce technology related skills deficits. 

Students should receive support from their Approved Education Institution provider to ensure access to simulated learning environments, supervision and assessment.


NMC (2021). Current Emergency and Recovery Programme Standards. Updated February 2021.