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Education Learning and Development Strategy graphic

RCN and RCNi Education, Learning and Development (ELD) Strategy

Together for nursing education, learning and development

This strategy is designed for all those supporting and delivering nursing care within the entire UK health and social care system. 

The Royal College of Nursing has a long history of supporting nurses through their continuing professional development (CPD) requirements. 

Importantly, this strategy meets our Royal Charter mandate ‘to promote the science and art of nursing and education and training in the profession of nursing’.

At the heart of our strategy is a culture of lifelong learning, based on collaboration with our members, representing a diversity of perspectives encouraged in all we do, where the views and beliefs of others are respected.

Listen to the launch of the Strategy with RCN Head of Education, Dr Nichola Ashby, and Rachel Hollis, Chair of the Professional Nursing Committee

Continuing professional development and lifelong learning are essential for the entire health and social care workforce system.

We will provide education, learning and development resources for the workforce, every step of the way throughout their working lives and beyond, enabling progressive career support and learning to ensure each day is seen as a learning day for every member.

We will develop an RCN and RCNi directory of evidence-based education, learning and development activities to empower the nursing workforce to influence and embed a learning culture within healthcare delivery.  

Our aim

To provide leadership and influence across the entire UK health and social care workforce through the provision of high-quality education, learning and development.   

Our values 

1 - We will provide evidence based ELD to develop and facilitate present and future knowledge and skills of the workforce to positively influence patient experiences and outcomes.

2 - We will provide access to quality assured, accredited ELD through differing methods to support Continual Professional Development (CPD) and Life Long Learning (LLL), widening participation and promoting innovation in best practice that improves patient care and outcomes.

3 - We will increase the recognition of the RCN as the organisation leading nurses and nursing with ELD, research and evidence-based guidance, providing the public with continued confidence in nurses and nursing delivery of safe and effective person-centred care.

4 - Our ELD offer will empower nurses and nursing to lead the delivery of health and social care, through enhanced effectiveness of practice and innovation.

RCN Learn

RCN Learn is a new online space hosted on the RCN website. RCN Learn offers you easy access to the learning and education you need to fulfil your continuing professional development (CPD) requirements and support the delivery of safe and effective care.

Learn more about the benefits of RCN Learn.

The RCN Education, Learning and Development offer will enable the development of a competent and capable workforce influencing, leading and delivering person- centred, safe and effective health and social care.

The RCN ELD strategy supports the growth, recruitment and retention of the entire workforce.

Strategic aim 1

We will provide professional leadership, education, personal development, clinical and research opportunities that enable the nursing workforce throughout their career across health and social care, to have a positive impact on patient care, safety, experience and evidence-based outcomes.

Strategic aim 2

We will develop an RCN education centre of excellence, utilising innovative delivery platforms through face to face, blended, online, virtual, digital, work and practice-based learning methods, to enable ease and equity of access to resources.

Strategic aim 3

We will assure the quality, effectiveness, and benefits realisation of ELD resources and events which provide Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and Lifelong Learning (LLL) opportunities for the whole nursing workforce.

Strategic aim 4

We will collaborate with academics and researchers, universities and colleges, executive nurses and clinical leaders, trade unions, members of the public and stakeholders from all the health and social care sectors to advance the professional development and support of the nursing workforce through ELD.

Achieving these objectives will enable the RCN/RCNi to deliver a transformational, innovative and responsive professional offer of learning and development in our role of a Professional Body and Trade Union, raising the voice of nursing and establishing further the art and science of nursing as an innovative, responsive and evidence-based profession.  

The strategy will be delivered across the next three years across the UK whilst ensuring this recognises the devolved nation approaches and commissioning.

Member benefits will include:

Free to all Education, Learning and Development

  • evidence-based guidelines
  • web based clinical and blended professional development
  • portfolio.

Additional member benefits

  • regional and country specific learning events
  • best evidence access
  • library and archives
  • advice and guidance
  • forum membership
  • membership support networks
  • representative training.

Paid for Education, Learning and Development

  • Leadership and Cultural Ambassador courses
  • online accredited learning
  • specialist content
  • indepth or highly functional content e.g. RCNi learning
  • specialist or forum events
  • sponsored or funded content/events.

This strategy has been developed through an extensive consultation process involving members and partners from across the four countries of the UK.  

Four clear themes were developed to set the direction of the strategy:

  1. The RCN and RCNi Brand is extremely strong; a platform to build a centre of excellence for education, learning and development. 
  2. There is a need for a transparent ELD membership offer which is clearly identifiable and mapped to a portfolio supporting career development every step of the way. This will include free and paid for/commercial elements. 
  3. There is a need for a flexible approach across the UK recognising existing areas of ELD excellence in the countries and regions. The strategy must take into account the differing commissioning mechanisms across the UK and align with offers in the devolved nations.
  4. The future development of a micro credits framework would enable the RCN to establish a currency which supported education and learning opening up routes into career development. 

The emphasis through consultation and engagement was on collaboration and our role as a Royal College in setting standards for education, learning and development within the profession.

We will facilitate continued engagement over the next three years. 

RCN and RCNi, Education Learning and Development Strategy 2021 - 2024

If you have any comments, questions or feedback please email us at:

RCN Learn FAQs

Find answers to the most common questions about RCN Learn, which brings together the latest nursing, health and social care learning resources from the RCN and RCNi.

The evidence base for our Quality Assurance

There are four quality assurance pillars that underpin the ELD Strategy. This is the evidence base for future developments. Download the pillars in English and Welsh.