All new nurses will need to be educated to degree level from 2013 in an attempt to improve the quality of patient care, the Department of Health has announced.
The DoH said the move would help nurses meet the increasingly complex needs of patients more safely and effectively.
Under the new rules, candidates will require a degree in nursing or equivalent international qualification. The courses, lasting up to four years, will meet standards developed by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the professional regulator.
Trainees will also shadow school health nurses and district nurses who work with people in their own homes, reports the BBC.
The Royal College of Nursing called the move “an important and historic development”.