Nurse revalidation ‘doomed to fail’ if staff receive no support for CPD

Nursing Standard exclusive

Hundreds of nurses say they are forced to use their annual leave to keep up with essential training requirements.

Nurses are demanding protected time for training after using holiday to keep up with continuing professional development (CPD). Others admit to resorting to taking sick leave for the purpose.

From April 1, nurses renewing their registration must be able to prove they have completed at least 35 hours’ CPD over a three-year period as part of the revalidation system introduced by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

We surveyed nurses about their ability to access CPD and two thirds (65%) of the 2,909 registrants who responded are concerned about being able to fulfil the required CPD hours.

Four out of five said they should have protected time.

Reasons nurses gave for falling behind with CPD included lack of:

  • Time
  • Backfill
  • Funding
  • Manager enthusiasm.


A NHS band 5 emergency care staff nurse said: ‘We were told there would be no time set aside for in-house study – lack of funding is regularly used as an excuse.’

More than one third (34%) of nurses in the survey said they achieved ten hours or fewer of CPD time each year, and 11% of those none at all.

A band 6 mental health nurse was told her employers could not offer time for CPD and she would need to use her days off. And a nurse manager in primary care complained: ‘Practice nurses have to source funding and training ourselves.’

The RCN said the findings prove employers should do more to support staff. Unison head of nursing Gail Adams said if employers could not make time for training the process was ‘doomed to fail’.

‘Nurses have to be up to date, which means the time and money for training has to be found,’ said Ms Adams.

‘It’s not good enough that there are too few staff to cover for colleagues on training. Nursing is a tough profession, holidays are there for nurses to relax and unwind from the stresses of the job.’

The NMC said that employers had a responsibility to support their staff with CPD.

Similarly, NHS Employers said there was an important role for employers to play in supporting staff through revalidation.


1Hour2EmpowerIn response RCNI has launched a campaign calling on employers to support nurses by giving them protected time for training.

The #1hour2empower campaign urges employers to ensure their nurses can complete the equivalent of one hour per month of continuing professional development (CPD).

This will help registrants achieve the minimum 35 hours of CPD in a three-year period required by the Nursing and Midwifery Council for revalidation.

The Patients Association and Unite have already pledged their support.

Unite professional officer for health sector regulation Jane Beach said: ‘One hour a month is not too much to ask. And it shows a commitment to staff who are already working flat-out.’

Patients Association chief executive Katherine Murphy said: ‘Protected time should be encouraged in every ward, department and hospital.’

Join the conversation on Twitter using #1hour2empower

Watch our free-to-view animated guide to revalidation here.

And see our other revalidation resources.