The Role of Nursing and Midwives Council of the United Kingdom

121 views 9 pages ~ 2217 words
Get a Custom Essay Writer Just For You!

Experts in this subject field are ready to write an original essay following your instructions to the dot!

Hire a Writer

Professionals in the United Kingdom are required to operate under the standards and regulations set by the social practice regulatory bodies they fall under. The requirement aims at ensuring uniformity, professionalism, and application of values and ethics in every career that deals with the provision of public services (Mandelstam, 2013, p.186). There are four general components of good practice that every social worker is required to portray namely knowledge, skills, values and ethics, and the social work process (The Open University, 2016, p.6). Through standards and regulations defined by regulatory bodies, workers can recognize and understand the social systems around as well as maintain accountability, avoid discriminatory and oppressive practices while serving the public. It is through regulatory bodies that academic qualifications are set for accreditation and registration with a particular professional regulatory body. The aim of this paper is, therefore, to explore and provide an insight of the agency that regulates adult nursing and midwifery in the UK.

Nursing as a Profession in the United Kingdom

Nurses are people who provide direct patient care either at home, community or hospital setting (Health Education England, 2016, p.3). Nurses possess specialized skills to care for a given set of people and also portray knowhow of fundamental aspects of care to the individuals, family, or society (Peate, 2012, p.4). For a long time, nursing was not recognized as a fully established profession since it was dominated by unpaid healthcare assistance (Peate, 2012, p.16). However, transformations and technological advancement which has taken place over the years, nursing is nowadays recognized as a profession within the healthcare sector. Nursing as a profession is instrumental in delivering and coordination of physical and psychological care to patients, families, and clients to ensure there is the provision of holistic healthcare. In the United Kingdom, they are expected to play diverse and challenging roles in the ever-changing healthcare environment. They form the largest group of practitioners registered with the National Health Service (NHS) of the United Kingdom.

Individuals who inspire to become competent nurses in the United Kingdom are expected to undertake a programme of study at a university. Entry requirements into a School of Nursing for a nursing degree course requires an individual to have three A-levels or an equivalent qualification at level 3, and an acceptable GCSEs which include English, maths, and science (human biology or biology) (Health Education England, 2016, p.26). The programme runs for three years and is required by law to comprise of theory and practice, every 2300 hours (Peate. 2012, p.2). Upon completion, an individual can proceed to register with the NMC either in the category of nurses, midwives, or specialist community public health in four distinct groups namely adult nursing, mental health nursing, learning disability nursing, or children’s nursing (Peate, 2012, p.2). For uniformity and quality assurance, NMC provides the framework for the education programmes offered in the universities. Currently, no diploma courses are being offered, and even those who have diplomas are required to upgrade to the degree level.

Requirements of Nurses and Midwives in the United Kingdom

Seeking medical assistance is something inevitable in one’s life. It’s likely that everyone in the United Kingdom has ever come into contact with a health professional. It is for this reason that we require to have regulations that promote and govern the practices of the health professionals, like nurses and midwives (Brooker, 2013, p.3). In the United Kingdom, nurses and midwives form part of the extensive range of individuals and organizations that offer health and social care to the public. Since citizens in the UK depends on the National Health Service (NHS) for the provision of healthcare needs, health professionals are required to respond to their demands through offering the necessary care and services (Citizens Advice, 2018). Nurses and midwives being part of the healthcare fraternity form an integral position in the fulfillment of the requirements. They are required to provide high-quality services with high level of professionalism in the four field they operate at namely adult nursing, learning disabilities nursing, mental nursing, and children nursing. Also, it is required they perform their duties within the health and social care guidelines provided by the organizations they are registered under (Brookes, 2013, p.74). To achieve this, nurses and midwives practicing their duties from a perspective of medical, social, and patient-centered models.

Part 2: Regulatory body for Adult Nursing and Midwifery in the United Kingdom

Overview of Nursing and Midwifery Council

Regulation of nurses and midwives in the United Kingdom is conducted by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). The Council was established through Parliament in 2001 under the Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001 and started its operations in 1st

April 2002 (Thewlis, 2004). The main aim of its establishment was to provide regulatory standards for nurses, midwives, and health visiting with the goal of protecting the public. NMC was to set and monitor standards of education, conduct, and practice and handle misconducts of their members within England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Currently, NMC is the most extensive regulatory body in the United Kingdom with over 690,000 registered nurses and midwives, and over 400 staffs. Its operations are presently guided by the amended Nursing and Midwifery Order 2008 and the Health and Social Care Act 2015 (NMC, 2017, p.7). The role of the body is to set code of conducts, promote and maintain professional standards, performance ethics, and also enforce compliance to regulations that govern nurses and midwives during their career (NMC, 2017, p.6).

NMC recent Requirements for Nursing and Nursing Education

To protect the public as well as uphold public confidence, NMC has enacted critical changes in the nursing study programme. The new changes are to ensure that individuals who complete the study programme are well trained, and can demonstrate high levels of competence to those they take care of (Peate, 2012, p.4). A critical adjustment in the nursing education that has been implemented by the agency is setting degree level as the minimum qualification for those accredited to offer public service. A decision to implement the change was arrived at in October 2008 and became functional as from September 2013 with the aim of lifting the nursing profession to a level already attained by other developed countries and well-established health and social care professions (Peate, 2012, p.4). Besides, the move would improve competency, creativity, and critical thinking in the healthcare sector characterized by increasing diversity and complexity changes.

In 2010, the Nursing and Midwifery Council set standards of competencies required for pre-registration nursing education. The set of skills known as ‘NMC Standards for pre-registration nursing education (2010)’ would comprise of four domains namely: nursing practice and decision-making; professional values; communication and interpersonal skills; and leadership, management and team working (Peate, 2012, p.5). Nursing practice and decision-making required nurses to maintain dignity and meet the critical physical and mental needs for being the benefit of the public (Birmingham City University, n.d, p.2).The domain also required nurses to practice skillful, safe, compassionate, and free care to individuals which complied with local and national guidelines regardless of their social, behavioral, cultural, or socioeconomic status (Birmingham City University, n.d, p.2). The professional values required nurses to show professionalism, accountability and maintain integrity while performing their duties. On the other hand, communication and interpersonal skills would guide nurses on how to communicate efficiently with patients or clients. They were required to utilize interventions and strategies such as communication technology when attending clients and patients (Birmingham City University, n.d, p.2). Lastly, for accountability within the profession, nurses were required to show leadership, teamwork, and management while at work (Birmingham City University, n.d, p.2). It is a domain that would allow improvement of services and standards within the healthcare sector.

There is also a new test of competencies introduced by NMC designed to test competencies and application of knowledge and skills by nurses and midwives in the United Kingdom. One of the tests known as the objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) is used to test the application of skills and knowledge by newly registered nurses and midwives at the entry point to the profession (Kelly, 2016, p.2). OSCE is comprised of six stations and nurses stay at each station for 15 minutes with an additional five minute for preparation. The first four stages are scenario-based and evaluate patient-centered assessment, evaluation, implementation, and planning while the last two stations are based on testing practical clinical skills (The University of Northampton, 2018). There is also a new competency test center set up by NMC for midwives and nurses who trained outside the EU and EEA but are seeking to work in the UK. For instance, the centre which is located at Oxford Brookes University was established with the intention of reducing the waiting time of new applicants. Nurses and midwives who trained outside the listed blocs are required to take a two-part test to evaluate their competence. The first part of the test is computer-based while the second part is the OSCE test (Griffiths, 2016).

Nursing and Midwifery Council Performance Review

The Nursing and Midwifery Council as an independent regulator of nursing and midwifery in the United Kingdom have so far achieved their role of protecting the public. In December 2016, the Professional Standards Authority provided NMC with the best review of their performance towards protecting, improving and maintaining the 24 Standards of Good Regulations (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2017, p.6). The Council has been able to conserve safety and wellbeing of the public, enhance and maintain public confidence in midwifery and nursing professions as well as maintain standards of conduct and professionalism for nurses and midwives (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2017, p.7). Similarly, NMC as at December 2016 had achieved to register 690,000 nurses and midwives, to become the Council with the highest number of registered members in the United Kingdom. The register comprised of newly registered and revalidated nurses and midwives.

Another achievement by NMC entails upgrading the standards set for equipping nurses and midwives with skills, knowledge and professional behaviors (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2017, p.9). In 2016, the Council developed a new education framework for institutions that offer nursing and midwifery training. The structure is intended to support the pre-registration nursing standards as well as nursing degree apprenticeship designed to ensure that all nurses are well skilled and experienced. The framework also aims at expending the nursing profession in future. Lastly, the Council was given the mandate by the Secretary of State for Health to become the regulator of the new nursing associate role (Health Education England, 2017, p.1).

Challenges facing Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

 There is no doubt NMC have achieved a lot towards protecting, improving and marinating quality in nursing and midwifery profession. However, few challenges are facing the Council which include inefficiency in the distribution of health-care resources due to the recent global economic crisis (Douglas, 2011, p.695). Also, the Council is facing a lot of challenges due to the high number of nurses and midwives abandoning the profession (NMC, 2017). Also, corruption, lack of accountability and transparency are other issues facing the NMC (Mandelstam, 2013, pp. 169-176)


            The Nursing and Midwifery Council has achieved in their roles of protecting the public. Also, the Council has succeeded in upholding professionalism and accountability in nursing and midwifery professions in the United Kingdom. It is the reason why the UK is ranked among the best in healthcare services and care delivery. However, there is a need for the Council to find a solution to the issues making nurses and midwives leave the profession. By so doing, it will be easy to realize their future goals of widening the profession.


Birmingham City University, n.d The NMC Competency Framework Adult Nursing. Faculty of Health. [Online] Retrieved from

 Brooker, C. and Waugh, A., 2013. Foundations of Nursing Practice E-Book: Fundamentals of Holistic Care. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Citizens Advice, 2018. NHS patients’ Rights. NHS healthcare. [Online] Retrieved from

Douglas, M.A.R.Y., 2011. Opportunities and challenges facing the future global nursing and midwifery workforce. Journal of nursing management, 19(6), pp.695-699.

Griffiths, J., 2016. New competency test centre announced by NMC. The Royal College of Midwives. [Online] Retrieved from

Health Education England, 2017. Regulation of Nursing Associate role “will bring benefits for all”. Care Matters: Shape of Caring, (3). [Online] Retrieved from

Health Education England, 2016. Careers in Nursing. Health Careers. [Online] Retrieved from

Kelly, M.A., Mitchell, M.L., Henderson, A., Jeffrey, C.A., Groves, M., Nulty, D.D., Glover, P. and Knight, S., 2016. OSCE best practice guidelines—applicability for nursing simulations. Advances in Simulation, 1(1), p.1-10.

Mandelstam, M., 2013. Safeguarding Adults and the Law. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2017. The Annual Report and Accounts 2016-2017 and Strategic Plan 2017-2018, London: Nursing and Midwifery Council.

NMC, 2017. Increasing number of nurses and midwives leaving profession ‘highlights major challenges faced by health and care sector.’ [Online] Retrieved from

Peate, I., 2012. The Student's Guide to Becoming a Nurse. John Wiley & Sons.

The Open University, 2016. An Introduction to Social Work. OpenLearn.

The University of Northampton, 2018. NMC Test of Competence Preparation. Nursing Midwifery Council (NMC) Test of Competence. [Online] Retrieved from

Thewlis, S., 2004. Memorandum by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Parliament Business.

October 13, 2023

Health Profession


Healthcare Nursing

Number of pages


Number of words




This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Eliminate the stress of Research and Writing!

Hire one of our experts to create a completely original paper even in 3 hours!

Hire a Pro