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NMC: Preceptorship



The Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) strongly recommends that all new registrants have a period of preceptorship when commencing employment.

Anyone who has entered a new part of the register, or been newly admitted to the register from other European economic area states and other nation states, should also receive a period of preceptorship.

A period of preceptorship should help the newly qualified nurse develop the confidence to practise competently as a nurse, midwife or specialist community health nurse. The preceptorship period should also ensure the newly-qualified nurse is familiar with and meets their obligations under the NMC code.

NHS Employers has guidance on preceptorship for newly qualified staff.

A preceptorship framework and presentation can be found on Health Education England

The Northern Ireland Practice and Education Council for Nursing and Midwifery (NIPEC) has more information on preceptorship, which includes a preceptorship framework and other guidance.


Those employed within the NHS should refer to the NHS terms and conditions of service handbook, particularly section 1.8 which clearly defines how the period of preceptorship is supported within the NHS.

An NHS employer is obliged to provide you with a period of preceptorship in your first year as an employee. You should check your employer’s preceptorship policy for details of the specific arrangements in place.

If you are employed outside the NHS, there is currently no requirement for your employer to provide a period of preceptorship although the NMC and the RCN would recommend it. Speak to your employer to clarify their preceptorship arrangements.

The NHS handbook section 1: Pay Structure (Scotland and Northern Ireland) 1.8 states 'Staff joining pay band 5 as new entrants will have accelerated progression through the first two points in six monthly steps (that is, they will move up one pay point after six months and a further point after 12 months) providing those responsible for the relevant standards in the organisation are satisfied with their standard of practice. This 12 month period will be referred to as “Preceptorship”.

In the first instance, once you have clarified whether you qualify for the payment in line with the above, you should talk to your employer and remind them of their obligation under Agenda for Change. If your employer refuses you this incremental rise then contact us for advice.

Accelerated pay for new entrants does not apply to England and Wales.

It is very important to think about how you will maintain your NMC registration. There are two areas to think about: 

  • Paying your NMC registration fees (annually or monthly)
  • Completing revalidation (every three years)

If you fail to pay your NMC fees at any point or fail to meet revalidation requirements, your registration will lapse. This is a serious issue. You cannot work as a nurse if you are not on the NMC register. You could be suspended from work and disciplinary action could be taken against you.

You will need to apply for readmission on NMC online and if you have worked without registration, the NMC will want to know why.

Try to put measures in place to remind you of your important dates and make sure you keep NMC online up to date with any changes to your email address. 

Guidance on revalidation

The NMC's How to revalidate publication has all the information you need. The NMC also has guidance on asking for reasonable adjustments and requesting extensions, see Support to help you revalidate.

The RCN also has information and advice to support members through revalidation, including case studies and useful tips.

The NRN network aims to add the unique perspective of the newly qualified to the voice of nursing, while providing support and guidance at the beginning of the nursing journey.

The network seeks to support those in the last six months of their degree through to the end of their preceptorship (roughly 18 months post-registration).

It is sponsored by the RCN Students Committee and run by students and NRNs in order to create the peer support which some feel is lacking post-graduation. 

The NRN handbook provides a whole host of guidance, including:

  • the foundations of good practice
  • how to make the most of your preceptorship
  • finding a balance for your health and wellbeing
  • advice on employment issues
  • everything you need to know about your RCN membership.

The handbook is now also available for members on RCN Starting Out, so you can access it on the go wherever and whenever you need it most.

If you have issues with your preceptorship, speak to your line manager or employer. It can be helpful to reference the frameworks within this guide, along with the NMC's information.

If you need further advice, please do contact us for more support. 

Professional practice

Read our advice on medicines management, immunisation, revalidation,  practice standards and mental health.

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Page last updated - 30/05/2022