Career advice

Record as you learn so that revalidation does not catch you out

Most nurses will meet the NMC's revalidation requirements easily, but can you prove it? Here we offer some advice on how to do it.

Nurses have been used to maintaining their continual professional development since PREP was introduced in 1995. But many feel apprehensive about the forthcoming CPD aspects of revalidation.

Picture credit: Alamy

Under the new system, which comes into effect in April 2016, you will need to provide evidence that you have undertaken a minimum of 35 hours’ relevant CPD activity since you last renewed your registration, or joined the register.

Of this, 20 hours must involve participatory learning – activity that involves interaction with at least one other person.

Keeping accurate records of all your learning activities, and writing reflective accounts, is central to revalidation. The NMC recommends you keep all your learning accounts and reflections in a portfolio, along with all your revalidation evidence. You can download templates for this from the NMC website:

As technology has advanced, so has the learning environment. The broad name given to learning activities that use a computer, tablet, smartphone or other form of technology is ‘e-learning’. This offers flexibility when learning, and can be a valuable resource for fulfilling your revalidation requirements.

At least 35 hours of CPD relevant to your scope of practice, including at least 20 hours of participatory learning.

Accurate recording of all CPD activities undertaken.

Five written reflective accounts of CPD activities linking to the professional standards outlined in the Code.

Source: Nursing and Midwifery Council (2015)

There are many forms of e-learning, so it is important to identify what suits your learning style and goals. Studying online on your own, at a time and place that suits you, is known as asynchronous e-learning.

Some courses enable you to interact with other students, for example through online forums and closed groups. If you log in at an agreed time and join in a learning activity with other students, using facilities such as ‘live chat’ or ‘virtual classrooms’, this is known as synchronous e-learning and can be counted in your participatory learning hours.

Take time to explore the e-learning courses available, and ensure all content is evidence-based and reflects current practice and guidelines.

Although e-learning is not regulated, a trustworthy learning provider will have detailed information about the company, and the courses it provides, on its website. Questions you should be thinking about when choosing an online course are:

What are the suggested learning outcomes?

How long does the course take to complete?

What technology is needed to run the course? For example, can you run it on your smartphone or tablet?

Is there a list for further reading?

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 gives you the right to a replacement or refund for digital content, including e-learning courses.

To complete your revalidation, you need to keep all of your online CPD certificates, as well as a concise record of your online learning.

It is good to get into the habit of completing your learning record as soon as you have finished your online training. If you combine this with a reflective account of your learning, you will have everything you need in one place.

A reflective account must outline what you learned, how you can take this into your area of practice, and how your learning was relevant to the Code.

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