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New NMC standards allow graduates to immediately train as prescribers

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has today launched ‘ambitious’ new standards of skills and knowledge for UK nurses, including allowing graduates to train as prescribers immediately, as opposed to three years postgraduation.

The regulator has also introduced enhanced education standards to ‘modernise’ the way student nurses are trained.

The new standards have been developed by the NMC alongside nurses, students, educators, healthcare professionals, charities and patient groups from across the UK over the past two years.

Under the new standards, students will now be supported by supervisors and assessors in both practice and academic settings.

The NMC introduced policy earlier this year, which states that all student nurses will be trained in the same set of procedures and communication skills, regardless of their field of practice.

The regulator also removed the cap on the number of hours trainees can spend on simulation activities as opposed to practical training.

The new standards will give nurses a greater understanding across all four fields of practice, the NMC said, as well as greater responsibilities in public health.

Graduate nurses will now be given the option to train as prescribers immediately after qualifying, rather than having to wait three years.

The NMC will also be removing its standards for medicines management and adopting the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) competency framework for prescribers.

It will also work with the RPS to produce ‘consistent guidance’ for all health and social care professionals.

‘Our new standards represent a huge leap forward. They raise the bar for the next generation of nurses and not only match the demands of the role but the ambition of the profession,' said Jackie Smith, NMC chief executive and registrar.

‘We’ve also overhauled the way universities train nurses and midwives. They’ll be given more flexibility to harness new ways of working and embrace technology so they can equip the nurses and midwives of tomorrow with the skills they need to deliver world class care for years to come.’  

Nurses are expected to begin training against the new standards from January 2019.

‘We’re planning to start the approval process for programmes delivering these new standards later this year. From 28 January 2019 all approvals will be made against these new standards,’ the NMC said.

ReaRead the new standards in full: