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HEE welcomes NMC recommendations for education reform

23 September 2021

Mark Radford, HEE’s Chief Nurse

Health Education England has welcomed the news from the NMC that it is making recommendations to modernise pre-registration education programme standards which will be discussed at the next board meeting on 29 September.

Professor Mark Radford, Chief Nurse at Health Education England and Deputy Chief Nursing Officer (England), said: 

"We welcome the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) commitment to modernise the pre-registration education standards for nursing and midwifery. From our engagement with students, educators and universities, there is real appetite to review approaches to improve curriculum design and delivery to further enhance learning outcomes and continue to evolve nurse education in line with international approaches.   

“Examples such as simulated learning are a vital part of the nursing curriculum and ensuring flexibility around this is key. We strongly believe that the amount of simulation within the curriculum can and should be increased as part of the total overall requirements. The recent changes and emphasis made by the NMC are very welcome, and we will work with NMC and the Council of Deans of Health to ensure high standards are maintained and developed to support this.

“We also believe a reduction of clinical placement hours from their current level would enhance students’ experience and outcomes; the experiences of our international partners highlight this. HEE has been working with international experts on this to inform the evidence base and professional debates. Students and educators in the UK consistently say that current demands for students are high, and modest changes in hours create less pressure, reduce attrition from programmes and also provide the opportunity to innovate within the curriculum and placements.

“The NMC has been a vital partner in the pandemic and we have worked collaboratively on support to universities and students – we thank them for taking forward this important consultation and views to council.

“This work offers a real opportunity to move to a model that improves outcomes, takes advantage of technological advances and learns from international comparators. We look forward to continuing to work with the NMC to help get this right and in doing so drive innovation that benefits students, educators and our health and care system as a whole.”