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RCN Leadership

Fitness to Practise

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has worked in collaboration with the Nursing Midwifery Council (NMC) to develop this evidence-based programme.

The aim of the programme is to encourage employers to consider taking a learning approach, rather than a punitive approach to address any conduct and capability issues that arise.  

The NMC is keen to reduce the number of referrals received from employers to their fitness to practise panels. Clearly some referrals are necessary, but it is felt by the NMC, that some cases could be managed in a different way. The NMC has already received 5,068 new concerns in 2023. Some 4,639 of these referrals did not progress beyond an initial assessment, most of which were due to the NMC concluding that the concerns did not require regulatory action (NMC, 2023).  

Fitness to practise cases can take an emotional and financial toll on everyone involved. It is hoped that the programme will influence the management of investigatory processes, with a potential to decrease the number of referrals to the NMC for registered nursing staff, and reduce unnecessary disciplinary/dismissal processes for health care workers in general. 

Find out more

Leadership Development, Royal College of Nursing, 20 Cavendish Square, Room 207, W1G 0RN

0207 647 3485

About the programme

The programme is for individuals working within all health and social care sectors, regardless of RCN membership status. It has been developed to support anyone in a role who has the responsibility of being an investigating officer in cases where conduct and capability of a health and social care worker may be a contributory factor.

It may be of specific interest to those staff who are involved in investigations, complaints and formal disciplinary or capability hearings, including care home/ward/department managers, who are newly appointed or who would like to refresh their skills and knowledge.

Programme aim

The purpose of the workshop is to encourage attendees to:

  • understand the concept of whistleblowing and freedom to speak up
  • how to conduct/facilitate difficult conversations
  • and to consider processes when addressing conduct and capability issues.  

This will lead to a supportive learning environment and culture and a subsequent decrease in inappropriate referrals to the NMC.   

What will I learn?

  1. Apply the criteria of whistleblowing and freedom to speak up within the context of health care.  
  2. Conduct/facilitate difficult conversations when addressing conduct and capability issues. 
  3. Explain the responsibility of the organisation to provide a fair, open and transparent investigatory/disciplinary process.
  4. Consider ways in which to develop skills to undertake investigation/disciplinary meetings.
  5. Identify how the learning outcomes can contribute to a decrease in inappropriate referrals to the NMC.

Programme requirements

There is no formal assessment.

Programme certification

Participants will receive an RCN certificate after completion of the programme, which includes 4.5 CPD hours.

Programme dates

Online programme

  • 19 November (9.30am to 4pm)

Face-to-face programme in London RCN Headquarters

  • 9 September 2024 (9.30am to 4pm)

Programme costs

£175 (+VAT) 

Please note that fees for overseas participants may differ. Please email for further information

Additional information

As well as the workshop, participants will be expected to undertake additional reading and access recommended resources, to enhance their learning and practise.


"This course was excellent and enjoyable. I have taken away so much new knowledge and can say that every day is a school day."

Would you recommend this training to others?

"Definitely - all my managers would benefit from this."

"Presenters were engaging and kept my attention. It was interesting throughout particularly due to their experiences, made it more real."


NMC (2023) Annual fitness to practise report 2022-2023

RCN Leadership programmes

RCN Leadership is a suite of bespoke programmes, giving you the confidence to lead positive and effective change within your organisation. 
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