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NMC: Preceptorship



The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) strongly recommends that all new registrants have a period of preceptorship when commencing employment, describing preceptorship as a structured start for newly registered nurses, midwives and nursing associates. This should help registrants to develop the confidence to practise competently as a nurse, nursing associate, midwife or specialist community health nurse and ensure they meet their obligations under the NMC code and relevant NMC standards.

Anyone who has entered a new part of the register, or is newly admitted to the register from countries outside of the UK, should also receive a period of preceptorship.

The RCN’s Nursing Workforce Standards (standard 10) states: “Registered nurses and nursing support workers must be appropriately prepared and work within their scope of practice for the people who use the services, their families and the population they are working with”. This places an obligation on the registered nurse lead to ensure that all newly appointed individuals are allocated a period of supernumerary induction/preceptorship.

NHS Employers has guidance on preceptorships for newly qualified staff and other staff.

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 the specific details.

Accelerated pay protection (Scotland and Northern Ireland)

In Scotland and Northern Ireland new entrants to band 5 are entitled to accelerated pay progression. More information is available in section 1: Pay Structure (Scotland and Northern Ireland) of the NHS terms and conditions

Once you’ve clarified whether you qualify for the payment you should talk to your employer and remind them of their obligation. If your employer refuses to give you this incremental rise, contact us for advice.

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

As a registrant, it’s important to work within the limits of your competence. If you’re involved in any incidents at work or feel you’re not getting the support you need as a newly registered member of staff, please discuss this with your manager in the first instance. 

Our advice guides cover a wide range of employment, legal and professional issues which may help. The list below covers the most common issues:

If your manager is not supportive or the issues are not resolved, contact us

RCN's Newly Registered Nurses Network

The NRN network is run by students and NRNs and exists to provide peer support and guidance to members in their last six months as a student to the end of their preceptorship period, or 18 months post registration.

RCN's Newly Registered Nurses Handbook

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 also available for members on RCN Starting Out.

Advice and support from the RCN

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 contact us for more support. 

It’s very important to think about how you’ll maintain your NMC registration. Make a note of important dates and make sure you keep your contact details up to date at NMC online.

Paying your NMC registration fees (annually or monthly)

If you fail to pay your NMC fees or meet revalidation requirements, your registration will lapse and you’ll need to apply for readmission. This is a serious issue as you can’t work as a registrant if you’re not on the NMC register. You could also be suspended from work and face disciplinary action. If you’ve worked without registration, the NMC will want to know why.

Completing revalidation (every three years)

The NMC's guidance and information on revalidation has all of the information you need.

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

Professional practice

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

RCN Counselling

Get help with the emotional impact of problems at work through our dedicated counselling service for members.

Search our advice guides

See our A-Z of advice. These guides will help you answer many of your questions about work. 

Page last updated - 12/06/2024