Registered nurses are subject to statutory regulation by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). The NMC sets the standards of competence required for entry to the professional register and these are the occupational standards for registered nurses.
The NMC also has the statutory duty to set requirements of programmes necessary to support the achievement of the knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs) in the occupational standard.
The apprenticeship standard and the delivery of the apprentices training must be aligned to all relevant NMC standards to ensure that apprentices are eligible for entry to the NMC register on completion.
The End Point Assessment (EPA) assesses whether apprentices have also passed the apprenticeship, and is based on the same professional knowledge, skills and behaviours as the occupational standard.
End Point Assessment (EPA)
The EPA is the examination board for the registered nurse apprenticeship standard. The examination board will be constituted in line with the NMC Approved Education Institution’s (AEI) academic assessment regulations and must have an external examiner present when considering achievement of the NMC approved qualification.
Independence of the EPA will be assured through:
- The examination board, which will include the external examiner, being responsible for the final decision on the award of the qualification that confirms the apprentice has met the education outcomes required for registration with the NMC.
- The End Point Assessment Organisation (NMC Approved Education Institution) will conduct the EPA.
The EPA will determine the overall apprenticeship standard and grades of:
The EPA starts with the examination board and finishes when the AEI makes the required declarations to the NMC. The apprentice is not required to carry out any additional assessments.
The EPA period is expected to last a maximum of one month beginning when the apprentice has passed the EPA gateway.
End Point Assessment Gateway
Apprentices will typically spend 48 months on-programme working towards the occupational standard. The EPA period should only start, and the EPA be arranged, once the employer and NMC Approved Education Institution are satisfied that the apprentice is consistently working at or above the level set out in the occupational standard and all of the pre-requisite gateway requirements for EPA have been met.
It is expected that the gateway will be reached on completion of the final qualification module and before the AEI’s examination board. Prior to commencement, apprentices will have their numeracy and literacy skills assessed by the NMC Approved Education Institution to ensure the apprentice has the necessary skills at a minimum of level two to meet the requirements of the programme.
Before an apprentice can pass through the gateway (decision point) for End Point Assessment, they must, in addition to being competent across the knowledge, skills and behaviours required by the standard, have achieved level two in English and Mathematics. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement the apprenticeship’s English and Maths minimum requirement is entry level three, and British Sign Language qualifications are an alternative to English qualifications for those whom this is their primary language.
Apprentices must complete all required modules, taking into account any recognised prior learning (RPL) of the following approved qualifications as mandated in the occupational standard:
- Degree in Nursing or level seven qualification approved by the NMC (where the apprentice already holds a level six degree)
The apprentice will also have successfully completed a Practice Assessment Document (PAD) and this will have been signed-off by their practice and academic assessor.