NMC: A Comprehensive Overview of the Nursing and Midwifery Council


Have you ever wondered, “What is the NMC?” and who ensures the competence and professionalism of nurses and midwives in the UK? The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) plays a vital role in maintaining public safety and upholding high standards of practice within these professions. In this post, we will explore the NMC in-depth, examining its structure, responsibilities, and impact on the healthcare system.

Short Summary

  • The NMC is a UK-based professional regulatory body responsible for advancing high educational and professional standards.

  • It plays a key role in healthcare regulation by setting standards, registering professionals, and ensuring the quality of practice placements.

  • The NMC safeguards the public by upholding professional standards through disciplinary action and providing support for concerns raised by members


Understanding the NMC: Definition and Functions

The Nursing and Midwifery Council is a UK-based professional regulatory body responsible for the regulation of nurses, midwives, and nursing associates, established under the nursing and midwifery order. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the public by ensuring that registered nurses and midwives possess the necessary qualifications, competencies, and conduct in accordance with the expected standards, ultimately improving everyone’s health.

The NMC:

  • Advances high educational and professional standards

  • Sustains the register of professionals qualified to practice

  • Investigates issues concerning nurses, midwives, and nursing associates under the guidance of the professional standards authority.

Role in Healthcare Regulation

As a pivotal player in healthcare regulation, the NMC sets standards, registers professionals, and guarantees the quality of practice placements. In collaboration with other regulators, the NMC works diligently to provide guidance and ensure that healthcare professionals, including nurses and midwives, meet their practice standards. This collaborative approach guarantees that the nursing and midwifery professions continue to evolve and maintain high standards of care within the UK healthcare system.

Importance of the NMC


The NMC is essential in preserving public confidence in the nursing and midwifery professions by:

  • Upholding professional standards

  • Administering disciplinary action when serious concerns arise

  • Establishing educational standards

  • Providing counsel on strategy and policy

  • Guaranteeing that nurses and midwives possess up-to-date knowledge and fulfil the necessary competences

This ensures that these professionals can provide secure and proficient care to the public.

The NMC’s role in maintaining the standard of care in nursing and midwifery professions includes:

  • Establishing educational standards

  • Approving institutions and programs

  • Managing complaints and disciplinary action

  • Raising concerns and whistleblowing

By fulfilling these responsibilities, the NMC not only protects the public but also upholds the integrity and credibility of the nursing and midwifery professions.

The Structure of the NMC

The NMC is governed by a council comprising twelve members, both lay and registrant members, and is further supported by various committees and subcommittees. The NMC Council is responsible for establishing the strategic direction, making key decisions, and monitoring the Executive’s performance. It is comprised of twelve members: six lay people and six professionals who are registered with the NMC, all appointed by the Privy Council.

With an annual income exceeding £52 million, the NMC levies a registration fee from its members to finance its activities. This funding allows the organization to effectively carry out its responsibilities in maintaining and enhancing the quality of nursing and midwifery education, training, and practice throughout the United Kingdom.

Council Members

The NMC Council members play a crucial role in overseeing NMC staff and setting the strategic direction for the organisation. These members are appointed by the Privy Council and consist of twelve individuals: six lay people and six professionals registered with the NMC, with one representative from each of the four UK countries.

Council members work together to ensure that the NMC remains focused on its core mission of safeguarding the public and maintaining high standards of practice within the nursing and midwifery professions. Their collective expertise and experience help shape the policies, procedures, and strategic plans that guide the NMC in its regulatory activities.

Committees and Subcommittees

Committees and subcommittees within the NMC provide support to the council in executing its regulatory obligations and duties. These committees and subcommittees, such as the Professional Standards Committee, the Education and Training Committee, and the Professional Conduct Committee, offer counsel and direction to the council concerning matters associated with nursing and midwifery regulation. Their obligations include offering counsel and direction on matters concerning nursing and midwifery regulation, establishing criteria for education and training, and validating institutions and programs.

These committees and subcommittees ensure that the NMC can effectively carry out its responsibilities in maintaining the standards of nursing and midwifery education, training, and practice across the United Kingdom.

NMC's Role in Education and Training

The NMC is responsible for setting educational standards for nurses and midwives, as well as approving institutions and programs that deliver nursing and midwifery education. By establishing these standards, the NMC ensures that future healthcare professionals are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to provide high-quality care to the public.

The NMC receives more than 22,000 newly qualified nurses and midwives every year from education institutions across the UK. This number is steadily increasing each year. This demonstrates the NMC’s significant role in shaping the future of nursing and midwifery professions by ensuring that educational institutions produce competent and capable practitioners.

midwife training

Setting Standards for Education

The NMC ensures that educational standards are met by setting guidelines and requirements for nursing and midwifery programs. These standards are designed to assist students in attaining the NMC standards of proficiency and program outcomes.

By establishing these educational standards, the NMC guarantees that nurses and midwives entering the profession have the requisite knowledge and capabilities to provide secure and proficient care. This ultimately contributes to the continued improvement of healthcare services and the well-being of the public.

Approving Institutions and Programs

The NMC is responsible for approving institutions and programs that meet its standards, thereby guaranteeing the quality of education for future nurses and midwives. Currently, the NMC accredits one thousand programs in seventy-nine educational institutions across the United Kingdom.

The NMC evaluates whether the programs at education institutions meet their standards and requirements, carrying out initial monitoring and ongoing monitoring of newly approved education providers and programs. This rigorous approval process helps ensure that nursing and midwifery graduates are well-prepared to provide safe, effective, and compassionate care to patients and their families.

Handling Complaints and Disciplinary Action

The NMC handles complaints and disciplinary actions against nurses and midwives, providing guidance for raising concerns and whistleblowing. Their fitness-to-practice process investigates any concerns raised about UK-registered nurses, midwives, and nursing associates, ensuring that any issues are dealt with in a fair and transparent manner, including assessing a nursing associate’s fitness.

By addressing complaints and disciplinary actions, the NMC plays a vital role in maintaining the public’s trust in the nursing and midwifery professions. Their commitment to upholding professional standards and dealing with serious concerns ensures that patients receive safe and high-quality care.

Raising Concerns and Whistleblowing

The NMC offers support and guidance for individuals who wish to raise concerns about a nurse's or midwife’s conduct or practice. They assure that any concerns raised will be handled with the utmost sensitivity and confidentiality, providing a safe environment for individuals to voice their concerns.

This support and guidance encourage open communication and transparency within the nursing and midwifery professions. It ensures that issues are identified and addressed promptly, ultimately contributing to the improvement of healthcare services and the protection of public safety, which improves everyone’s health.

Disciplinary Process and Outcomes

The NMC’s disciplinary process can yield a selection of results, such as limitations on practice or deregistration, in order to guarantee public safety and uphold professional standards. This process not only serves to protect the public but also maintains the integrity and credibility of the nursing and midwifery professions.

By enforcing its disciplinary process, the NMC holds nursing and midwifery professionals accountable for their actions, ensuring that those who fail to meet the expected standards are dealt with appropriately. As a result, patients can trust that the care they receive from NMC-registered professionals is of the highest quality.


In conclusion, the Nursing and Midwifery Council plays a crucial role in protecting public safety and maintaining high standards of practice within the nursing and midwifery professions. Through its regulatory functions, educational oversight, and disciplinary processes, the NMC ensures that healthcare professionals are well-prepared to provide compassionate and effective care to patients throughout the United Kingdom. By understanding and appreciating the NMC’s impact on the healthcare system, we can better recognize the importance of supporting and nurturing these vital professions in our society.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the NMC What does it do?

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is the regulatory body responsible for protecting the public in the UK by setting professional standards of practice, competency and performance for nurses, midwives and nursing associates.

It ensures that the people providing care are suitably qualified and able to do so safely.

What are the 4 principles of NMC?

The four core principles of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) are to work with others to protect and promote the health and wellbeing of those in your care, provide a high standard of practice and care at all times, be open and honest, act with integrity and uphold the reputation of your profession, and understand the principles of autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice.

These principles are essential for any nurse or midwife to adhere to in order to ensure the safety and well-being of their patients. They also ensure that the profession is held in high regard and that the public can trust in the care they receive. It is important to remember that autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice are the cornerstones of ethical practice and should be upheld at all times.

What is the role of NMC in education?

The NMC sets standards of education, training, practice and conduct for nurses and midwives in the UK, approves educational institutions and programmes, and maintains a database of approved courses.

It also registers qualified nurses and monitors their practice to ensure they continue to meet the set standards.

What does the NMC do to ensure public safety?

The NMC ensures public safety by setting educational and professional standards, registering professionals who meet these standards, and taking disciplinary action when necessary.

Disciplinary action is taken when necessary to ensure that the public is protected from any potential harm.

How is the NMC structured?

The NMC is structured as a council of twelve members, comprising both lay and registrant members, with additional committees and subcommittees providing support.

These committees and subcommittees are responsible for providing advice and guidance on a range of topics, including professional standards, education and training, and research. They also provide support to the Council in the development of policy and the implementation of decisions.

Nursing recruitment to the UK