The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) sets out standards in relation to pre-registration nurse education two of which are of particular relevance. These are:
  1. Standards for Pre-Registration Nursing Education (NMC 2010)
  2. Standards to Support Learning and Assessment in Practice, (2006 and 2008). The NMC Standards for Pre-Registration Nursing Education sets out the competences that students must acquire by the end of their three year degree programme.

Currently within Northern Ireland, pre-registration nursing practice placements based mainly within the statutory sector and are provided across a range of settings. There placements are supported through Practice Education Teams in line with the NMC Standards. There are a limited number of practice placements in the Independent and Voluntary Sector and support mechanisms vary.

Within Northern Ireland, Transforming Your Care (TYC) supported by a range of other strategic documents sets out the strategic direction for healthcare delivery over the next five years and beyond. TYC highlights that more services will be provided in the community, close to people's homes where possible, with an increased emphasis on personalised care. As services reconfigure to meet the recommendations of TYC, and  healthcare is increasingly delivered in community settings, including the patient's own home, or by the Independent and Voluntary Sector, the demand on practice placements in the statutory sector will exceed the available resource. A resource which at times some have suggested can be stretched.

In January 2014 on behalf of the Chief Nursing Officer NIPEC led a short-life Task and Finish Group meeting with a range of key stakeholders, to explore the potential for increasing the capacity of pre-registration nursing practice placement learning opportunities within the Independent and Voluntary Sector.

The final report can be viewed by clicking the link below.

View the membership of the Task and Finish Group.


Go to Pre-registration Learning & Assessment in Practice: Independent and Voluntary Sector Placements documents

Contact Information

Frances Cannon
Senior Professional Officer
Tel : 0300 300 0066