NMC outlines draft midwifery education standards

By Hollie Ewers on 21 November 2018 Public Health NMC - Nursing and Midwifery Council

‘Ambitious’ draft standards have been outlined by the NMC ahead of a public consultation in 2019.

The standards set out the proposed knowledge and skills the next generation of midwives will need to deliver world-class care in communities across the UK.  

Putting mothers and their families first, the proposals place a greater emphasis on mental health and on public health. They aim to equip midwives with the skills to identify individual health and mental health needs early on in pregnancy, where necessary working in collaboration with multidisciplinary and multi-agency teams.

There’s an increased focus on continuity of care for mothers, newborn infants and their families, and public health including health promotion, disease prevention and health protection are also at the heart of the new standards. 

Under the draft proposals, education institutions will be given greater freedom to be more creative in designing their curriculum, and more innovative in the way they educate midwives. 

They will be able to harness the latest evidence, modern technologies, and care techniques to ensure students have the knowledge and skills needed to provide safe, effective, respectful and compassionate care. 

The NMC’s council will be asked to approve the draft standards for public consultation at its next meeting on 28 November.

If the council approves the plans, it will begin consulting on proposals in February 2019. This will include a number of UK-wide workshops for midwives, women, families, advocacy groups, educators, and other health and care professionals. 

There will also be a range of online engagement events including interactive webinars and Twitter chats.

NMC director of education and standards professor Geraldine Walters said that as the demands on midwives are changing, it’s vital that education keeps pace to ensure that midwives of the future have the skills they need to deliver better, safer care throughout their careers. 

‘For the last two years we’ve collaborated with midwives, mothers, families and other health professionals to develop these proposals but they’re not yet the finished article. We need people to tell us what they think to help us to develop and refine the standards further,’ she said.
Professor of mother and infant health at the University of Dundee, and standards development lead Mary Renfrew said: ‘Midwifery education in the UK is entering an exciting new era and 2019 will see the NMC launch a UK wide consultation seeking views on proposals that will reshape the future of midwifery education. 

‘These standards have been informed by a high quality evidence base and by the views of women, families, midwives, and others. We now know that continuity of care is very important for safe and effective care for all women and babies. Changes in society have also been considered; for example, changing population health needs mean that women increasingly have one or more health conditions that may affect their health and well-being in pregnancy, at birth, and beyond. Women are deciding to have children later in life, and modern fertility treatments mean that people who might not have previously been able to conceive can do so. 

‘These proposals are another step on the road to enabling the next generation of midwives to strive for the highest standards and to meet these increasing demands by providing world class care now and in the future.’