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Practice based learning

Practice-based learning

Find out how practice-based learning is changing

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, midwives, nursing associates, approved education institutions and practice placement providers. 

Please find a below an audio introduction to practice-based learning from Anne Corrin, 
Head of Professional Learning & Development at the RCN.

Timeline for implementation of standards

  • Approval for education programmes for nurses, midwives and nursing associates started 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 hours 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 apply across the four fields of nursing practice. 

One of the most significant 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. In January 2019 the NMC published supporting information on the standards for student supervision and assessment to help with the implementation of the new standards.

This resource will support practice-based learning by:

  • clarifying the new NMC Standards and their implications for practice-based learning
  • providing links to relevant publications and resources that support practice-based learning; and
  • providing examples of how this is being delivered in different areas of the UK that others can learn from.

Share your innovations

We know there are many great examples of ways that nursing and midwifery staff have implemented changes to practice-based learning, as part of the new NMC Education Standards.

By sharing these examples on the RCN website, we hope it will encourage others to use this learning in their own workplace.

To share your own case study with us, please complete this short form and email your completed submission to Lisa.Cork@rcn.org.uk.