Universities will need to seek NMC approval before implementing the new discretionary standard.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has approved the use of up to 600 hours of simulated practice for undergraduate student nurses.
During the pandemic, the NMC’s COVID-19 recovery standards allowed all Approved Education Institutions (AEIs) to use up to 300 hours of simulated practice learning towards a student’s total required practice hours.
Today the regulator has announced that its governing Council has which will increase the allowance to 600 hours for educational institutions who “can demonstrate that they have the capacity and capability to do so”.
Unlike other recovery standards, universities will need to seek NMC approval prior to rolling out the new discretionary standard.
Undergraduate student nurses are required to undertake 2300 hours of clinical placement time prior to qualifying as a registered nurse.
Additional discretionary standard.
The move means just over a quarter of all placement time could now be spent away from real patients learning in simulated environments.
AEIs will need to provide evidence that they have the appropriate resources and infrastructure to implement it effectively and safely.
These standards will remain in effect until the NMC has completed its work to update our pre-registration education programme standards, following the UK’s departure from the EU.
Professor Geraldine Walters, Executive Director of Professional Practice, said: “I’m pleased that the Council have agreed for the existing recovery standards to remain in place while we consider the permanent changes we might make to our education standards following the departure of the UK from the EU.
“These, and the additional discretionary standard will allow AEIs more flexibility to explore and evaluate new and innovative approaches to nursing education.”
The NMC has said it will contact all AEIs in due course to clarify the changes.