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NMC appoints former Wales CNO to lead education steering group

NMC appoints former Wales CNO to lead education steering group

A former chief nurse for Wales has been appointed by the NMC to oversee work on modernising education standards after Brexit.

Professor Jean White, who stepped down as chief nursing officer (CNO) for Wales in Easter last year, will lead the NMC’s Future Programme Standards Steering Group to discuss draft proposals and develop updated education programme standards.

She is currently a visiting professor at the University of South Wales, with previous positions as a mentor in the Ethnic Minority Women in Healthcare Wales programme, an expert nurse advisor to the World Health Organisation European Regional Office, and at Higher Education Wales.

The NMC is considering changing its education programme standards – on factors such as student selection, length of programme, and theory and practice learning hours – because it no longer needs to follow EU directive requirements since the UK left the EU in 2020.

In papers published in September 2021, the NMC council highlighted areas of nursing and midwifery education where there was ‘more appetite for flexibility’:

  • innovative simulation to support practice learning;
  • support for widening access to nursing and midwifery education;
  • modernising the language of the EU directive in relation to knowledge and skills requirements for both nursing and midwifery.

Although, the NMC raised concerns at the time that changing the standards too much would reduce the mobility of the workforce between the UK and EU.

Professor Geraldine Walters, executive director of professional practice at the NMC, said Professor White is the ‘right person’ to lead the expert steering group.

She continued: ‘The NMC, education institutions and ultimately our professions, will benefit from her exceptional experience of national level leadership in practice and education.

‘We’ve already heard many of our stakeholders’ views on this important work. Under Jean’s leadership the steering group will ensure we continue to hear a wide range of perspectives, seeking consensus around the right approach for everyone.’

Commenting on her appointment, Professor White said: ‘I’m delighted to be appointed as Chair of the Future Programme Standards Steering Group. The group will support the NMC to make the right decisions around the development of its education programme standards.

‘We will help to make sure that any proposed deviation from EU directives supports the future needs of nursing and midwifery education in the UK. I look forward to collaborating with partners to achieve the best outcome.’