Nurse education and training

Baby, mother and nurses

Students of today will make up the workforce of the future, so making sure they have access to high-quality education, placements and preceptorship is paramount. 

We will keep you up to date with the changes to policy which might affect how nurses are educated and employed, and will provide advice and guidance on how best to develop and grow this important workforce. 

Responding to you

We are keen to hear your thoughts about how the changes are affecting you and your current and future workforce. How will the funding reforms impact your supply of staff? Can you use the new role to improve the capacity of your workforce? Please get in touch with to have your say. 

Funding reform

From 1 August 2017, new nursing, midwifery and most allied health students will no longer receive NHS bursaries. Instead, they will have access to the same student loans system as other students. This applies to new students on pre-registration courses (those which lead to registration with one of the health professional regulators). All nursing (adult, child, mental health, learning and disability) midwifery, and several allied health professional courses will be affected. The new arrangements also apply to students planning to take these courses as a second qualification.

During consultation on the changes, some concerns were raised by employers that the removal of financial support could have a negative impact on the diversity of the workforce, by deterring certain groups of prospective students who could not take on debt to study.  As a result, several additional elements of support were announced. Funds will be made accessible for those eligible for extra support to travel to and from clinical placements, for those with dependent children, and those facing severe hardship. 

Find out more about the changes on the website

Routes to nursing

A degree apprenticeship

In line with major policy changes to the way apprenticeships are delivered and funded, and designed to offer another route to nursing, a new degree apprenticeship has been announced. It is being developed by employer-led partnerships, and will be available for students to undertake from September 2017. 

Nursing associates

In order to provide support to the overstretched nursing workforce, and to ensure a pipeline of talent, a new nursing associate role is being piloted in several different locations across England. It is hoped that by training compassionate and capable people in the new role, registered nurses will have more capacity to carry out the most critical elements of their roles. The outcome of the pilot programmes will inform next steps. Find out more about the nursing associate role.


Commitment to quality preceptorships should be a high priority for nursing employers. 

The beginning of a newly qualified practitioner's career can be a challenging time. 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 preceptorship page contains advice and guidance to help you justify and implement a robust preceptorship programme for your staff.

*Please note, if you are a newly qualified nurse looking for a preceptorship opportunity, this should be discussed with your employer once you have secured a position in an NHS trust. 

Excellence in student nursing placements

A nursing student’s placement is a vital part of their learning experience. Getting it right can contribute greatly to the development of individual students, as well as 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.

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