Nurse education and training

Baby, mother and nurses

Today's students will make up the workforce of the future, so making sure they have access to high-quality education, placements and preceptorships is vital.

In this section you will find advice and guidance on how best to develop and grow this important workforce and keep up-to-date with any changes to policy that might affect how nurses are educated and employed.

Standards for nurses

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has reviewed and updated the nursing standards of proficiency and the education and training standards. The new standards reflect the changing role that nurses will play in the future and place a greater emphasis on leadership and multi-disciplinary working across different settings.

We have developed an infographic setting out the key changes to the standards which you view and download from our resource page.

The new standards for nurses have been available to use since 28 January 2019 and all education programmes must be aligned to the new standards by September 2020.

Routes into nursing

Employers often tell us that the different routes into nursing can be confusing and it can be difficult to weigh up the different options when mapping out a clear pathway for registered nurses.

We have created a one-page resource that sets out the different training routes and timescales. It also highlights the costs and benefits to the different nursing supply options. Our dedicated page also outlines good practice and further information about each of the different routes.

Nursing degree apprenticeship

A nurse degree apprenticeship is now available. It offers a viable alternative to university for those wishing to pursue a career in nursing.

The apprentices achieve the same qualification as other student nurses and on completion will meet the requirements to apply for registration with the NMC. Employers can find more information about this and other apprenticeship standards at Healthcare Apprenticeship Standards Online.

Nursing associates

Nursing associates are new members to the nursing team providing care and support for patients and service users. They are intended to help address the skills gap between health assistants and registered nurses.

For more information visit our nursing associates guide.


The beginning of a newly qualified practitioner's career can be a challenging time and initial experiences can shape how they develop in their career. To ensure the best possible start for newly-qualified nurses, midwives and allied health professionals, a quality preceptorship programme is essential.

Our preceptorships page contains advice and guidance to help you justify and implement a robust preceptorship programme for your staff. 

Excellence in student nursing placements

Clinical placements are a vital part of the learning experience for nursing students. Providing high quality placements not only contributes to the development of individual students but also to the team and organisational culture they are working in. Our dedicated web section highlights what some trusts have done to achieve excellence in student nursing placements.

Why Register?

Great reasons to register with NHS Employers

  • A personalised website
    Manage your profile and select topics of interest to you
  • Access your dashboard
    Bookmark useful content to help you quickly find what you're looking for
  • Get involved
    Contribute to our Talking Points discussions, comment on and rate our webpages
  • Keep up to date
    Receive the latest newsletters and media summaries

Log In