The European Nursing Module (ENM) Network was founded in 1994 with the Inaugural Meeting held in Lewes, Sussex, United Kingdom. This initial meeting brought together a group of individuals representing educational institutions which offered basic nurse education programmes leading to the right to practice nursing in their specific country. Some of these programmes were based in hospitals and some in educational institutions.

The principle behind the Network was to develop a Module, which could be accessed by student nurses studying within those programmes. If appropriate, the Module would be validated by the individual institutions' appropriate validating body as an elective part of their basic nursing programme. Students would then have the opportunity, within that Module, for an exchange with another member institution, allowing experience of a health care system within another European country and of the social and cultural nursing issues within that country.

The Module was developed over a period of three years, with specified learning aims and outcomes agreed by all members of the Network. Exchange of students within the Module began in 1997. Most students fund themselves, though some have limited assistance from their institution. Some institutions are able to offer some support to exchange students (such as accommodation)and the Network may award some grants towards the cost of student exchange.

The international interest for this exchange programme has increased and to date there are 26 member institutions in the Network from 13 European countries. "European" is used here in its widest sense, as not all countries involved are members of the European Union. Formal membership is limited to three institutions from any one country to allow the widest variation in experiences for student exchange without the Network growing to an unworkable size.

Each institution signs a Multilateral Memorandum of Co-operation with each other institution agreeing in principle to promote international co-operation and detailing the proposals and regulations for the European Nursing Module. In addition, members may choose to sign a Bilateral Memorandum of Co-operation with other members that also covers the exchange of students, teachers and other staff, and any other scholarly activities outside the Module but within the Network. This gives member institutions the opportunity to make contacts and enter other forms of exchange programmes in addition to the European Nursing Module.

Each institution pays an annual subscription fee, currently £200.00 to fund the work of the Network Officers, payable in January each year. Subscription payment is a condition of membership of the Network and the amount is reviewed annually.

The Network holds an annual Network Management Conference in April, hosted by one of its member institutions on a rotating basis. Institutions send up to three delegates to this meeting and one delegate is nominated by each institution as their formal contact member for the ENM Network. These formal contact members make up the Steering Group of the Network.

The Steering Group holds its Annual General Meeting (AGM) during the annual Conference, when all issues pertaining to the management and membership of the Network are discussed and, if appropriate, voted on. Although all Conference delegates may debate the issues, member institutions only have one vote each, through their nominated formal contact. Attendance at the annual Conference and the AGM is not a condition of Network membership though attendance is expected wherever possible. Non-attending members are expected to abide by the decisions taken by the Steering Group in their absence.

The Network has three Officers elected by the Steering Group at the AGM, for a period of four years. These are the Network Co-ordinator, the Secretary and the Third Officer. The Co-ordinator and the Third Officer must be employed by one of the member institutions. The Co-ordinator and Secretary cannot be the formal Network contact for their institution during their period of office, nor do they have a vote during that time.

Activities other than those connected with the European Nursing Module (ENM) also take place within the Network with the exchange of basic students, post-registration students, teachers and other staff. There are also opportunities for joint research and other scholarly activities between members. A post-registration ENM module is in place.

Institutions wishing to join the Network should initially contact the Network Co-ordinator or the Network Secretary for information on the process.