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Practice based learning

Practice-based learning

Practice-based learning and the new NMC education standards

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) introduced new education standards in May 2018 to reflect the scope and requirements of current nursing practice. 

The introduction of these Standards for education will not just have implications for nursing and midwifery students, nurse apprenticeships and trainee nursing associates. The standards also affect nurses who wish to return to practice, all registered nurses and midwives, approved education institutions and practice placement providers. 

Timeline for implementation of standards

  • Approval for education programmes for nurses, midwives and nursing associates will start in January 2019. 
  • Approved education institutions will be given until September 2020 to begin programmes using the new standards. 
  • The NMC has developed a new Quality Assurance Framework to ensure that education institutions are meeting the new standards for education and training. The Framework will be fully implemented from September 2019.

RCN support for practice-based learning

With the introduction of the new NMC education standards the way in which practice-based learning is delivered will change. Students still have to undertake 2,300 of theory and 2,300 hours of practice-based learning before they can be registered. However, the way in which the proficiencies are presented is different as they are generic and not specific to the four fields of nursing practice as previously. 

One of the greatest changes to practice-based learning is that mentors and sign-off mentors will be replaced by practice supervisors, practice assessors and academic assessors. The NMC has set standards for these roles but they have not specified what type of training or preparation is required to undertake roles. While this allows for local innovative approaches to these roles there is a risk that some areas will do this better than others.

This resource will support practice-based learning by:

  • clarifying the new NMC Standards and their implications for practice-based learning
  • myth-busting of concerns around the NMC Education Standards; and
  • providing examples of good practice from different areas of the UK that others can learn from.
Practice based learning

Find out more

  • Myth busting
  • Examples of good practice