Expert advice

Legal advice: I am thinking of cancelling my registration with the NMC. Do you have any advice?

Removing yourself from the Nursing and Midwifery Council register limits the roles and positions you can legally undertake, so consider your options carefully before doing this, says legal expert Marc Cornock. 
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Removing yourself from the Nursing and Midwifery Council register limits the roles and positions you can legally undertake, so consider your options carefully before doing this, says legal expert Marc Cornock

To practise as a nurse in the UK, you must be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Your entry on to the NMC register shows you have met the competencies and standards required to practice as a nurse.

Although the title of nurse is not protected, registered nurse is a protected title which can only be achieved by registration with the NMC. It is a criminal offence to represent yourself as registered when you are not, and as many nursing posts are for registered nurses, it would also be a criminal offence to work in

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Removing yourself from the Nursing and Midwifery Council register limits the roles and positions you can legally undertake, so consider your options carefully before doing this, says legal expert Marc Cornock 


The title of registered nurse can only be achieved by registration with the NMC. Picture: iStock

To practise as a nurse in the UK, you must be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Your entry on to the NMC register shows you have met the competencies and standards required to practice as a nurse. 

Although the title of nurse is not protected, registered nurse is a protected title which can only be achieved by registration with the NMC. It is a criminal offence to represent yourself as registered when you are not, and as many nursing posts are for registered nurses, it would also be a criminal offence to work in one of these roles if you are not registered with the NMC. 

Straightforward process

There are positions that do not require you to be a registered nurse, such as managerial or teaching roles that do not require you to maintain your registration. If you are sure you will not need your registration in any role you plan to undertake, removing yourself from the register is relatively simple.

The NMC has a page on their website dedicated to cancelling registration. This details what you need to do and the situations in which this may not be possible. It also has information about voluntary removal, the process by which a nurse or midwife who is subject to a fitness to practise allegation can apply to be removed from the register. 

After cancelling your registration, if you want to take on an appointment which requires registration with the NMC, it is possible to gain re-admission. The details for doing this are also on the NMC website.


Marc Cornock is a qualified nurse, academic lawyer and senior lecturer at the Open University

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