All set for a challenge

The revalidation process will eventually become part of who we are as nurses, says RCN Nurse of the Year Amanda Burston.

The revalidation process will eventually become part of who we are as nurses, says RCN Nurse of the Year Amanda Burston.

We are only a few weeks away from the first nurses completing their applications for revalidation, the new process that all UK nurses and midwives must now go through to maintain their registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

Nurses and midwives must meet the required minimum standards to revalidate every three years, and provide evidence to show they are practising safely and effectively.

Revalidation requirements

  • Nurses will need to complete or demonstrate:
  • 450 practice hours, or 900 if renewing as both a nurse and midwife.
  • 35 hours of continuing professional development, including 20 hours of participatory learning.
  • Five pieces of practice-related feedback.
  • Five written reflective accounts.
  • Reflective discussion.
  • Health and character declaration.
  • Professional indemnity arrangement.
  • Confirmation.

(Nursing and Midwifery Council 2016)

Healthcare professionals in today’s NHS face unprecedented pressures. A ‘normal’ day is both challenging and rewarding. Nurses must be dynamic and passionate, and focus on the four core areas of the NMC code of conduct: prioritise people, practise effectively, preserve safety, and promote professionalism and trust.

Celebrate achievements

The revalidation framework is linked to the NMC code. It allows nurses to document progress and identify learning needs, and to celebrate achievements. It also allows for monitoring and early detection of any practice that could be deemed unsafe.

Evidence of practice hours, reflective accounts and continuing professional development (CPD) – essentially an in-depth CV, or catalogue of learning built up through reflection and discussion – must be logged in a portfolio. Nurses can use their portfolios in appraisals, and in discussions about personal development plans, further learning and career planning.

In emergency departments (EDs), nurse-patient relationships can be brief, making it difficult to gain patient feedback. But emergency nurses often receive praise or thanks, which can be included as evidence for revalidation. Feedback forms should also be available in all areas of EDs to encourage patients to communicate with staff.

Many emergency nurses work in multidisciplinary teams with, for example, radiologists, medics, therapists and social workers, who can contribute with feedback on professional standards, safe practice and effective patient care. Debriefing sessions after stressful or difficult events can make excellent reflective accounts, and nurses should find a debrief model to help them make learn from such occasions.

Mentors can include reflective pieces on the student relationship. Documentation on supporting students is required as part of the mentor role, and this can be adapted to include direct input from the student, and included in the revalidation portfolio.

Professional standards

Revalidation will become part of who we are as nurses. It will help to hold us accountable and ensure we maintain the professional standards that protect us, our patients and the nursing profession. The fundamental requirements will reassure nurses, employers and the NMC that the workforce is trustworthy, safe and professional.

Revalidation gives employers the opportunity to identify learning needs and provide structured individual support.

Nurses should identify with their managers and education teams any difficulties they may face in meeting the minimum requirements. Most nurses and midwives should include many reflections in their portfolios, and this is an opportunity to celebrate nursing and showcase examples of outstanding contributions to care. Managers should encourage weekly ‘time outs’ to enable nurses to keep their portfolios current.

Adopting a new practice is always difficult, but revalidation will become a routine part of nursing practice. Making regular contributions to the portfolio will help reassure nurses that the process is manageable and even enjoyable.

Support from senior staff could also bring greater rewards, as nurses are enabled to develop through the revalidation process.

Find out more

Emergency Nurse revalidation area

About the author

Amanda Burston is major trauma co-ordinator at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, member of the Emergency Nurse editorial advisory board and RCN Nurse of the Year 2015.


Nursing and Midwifery Council (2016) Revalidation: What You Need To Do. (Last accessed: February 24 2016.)

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