Career advice

Ready to tackle revalidation? Here’s how to use your COVID-19 nursing experience

Just getting prepared for the NMC process can make it seem less daunting

It may have been the last thing on your mind during the pandemic, but just getting prepared for the process can make it seem less daunting

Picture: Alamy

Its impossible to say what lies ahead for the rest of the year and how COVID-19 is going to affect us all throughout autumn and winter.

But having already risen to the unprecedented challenges of caring for patients at the height of a pandemic, some of you are now due to complete the process of proving you are skilled enough to stay on the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register for another three years.

Extensions are available but this will just delay the task

As priorities go, maintaining your registration is as high as it gets,

It may have been the last thing on your mind during the pandemic, but just getting prepared for the process can make it seem less daunting

Picture: Alamy

It’s impossible to say what lies ahead for the rest of the year and how COVID-19 is going to affect us all throughout autumn and winter.

But having already risen to the unprecedented challenges of caring for patients at the height of a pandemic, some of you are now due to complete the process of ‘proving’ you are skilled enough to stay on the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register for another three years.

Extensions are available but this will just delay the task

As priorities go, maintaining your registration is as high as it gets, but even in a good year, the months leading up to revalidation can be stressful.

Throw a pandemic into the mix and it’s understandable that even the thought of it can bring you out in a cold sweat, and it feels like yet another thing to add to your never-ending to-do list.

The NMC announced automatic extensions for those due to revalidate during lockdown, and those due to revalidate in August or September can also apply for one.

But extensions don’t relieve the problem, they just delay it, and the ongoing stress this causes can be hard to deal with.

RCNi Portfolio: your complete toolkit for revalidation

Revalidation won’t get sorted in a day. But you can make the task seem less daunting by breaking down what you can do right now to help you prepare.

Preparing for revalidation: your next steps

Get started This sounds simple but for all the procrastinators among you, the first step is often the hardest. But remember that once you take the first step, you are on a journey. As with all journeys, momentum gradually builds, so challenge yourself to make a start today. Whether this is reviewing the NMC requirements for revalidation, writing a reflective account or asking for feedback, just give it a try. If the walls of resistance come up, don’t beat yourself up; instead try imagining the relief you will feel when you are properly underway. Remind yourself that every single moment you spend on revalidation is one step nearer to the finish line.

Find a buddy Not everyone likes to take a journey on their own, so teaming up with a colleague may help. Even if their revalidation isn’t due in the coming months, having someone to be accountable to can help with your motivation. If there are a few of you, you could set up a WhatsApp group or similar to support each other. Just make sure you use this type of resource appropriately to discuss your learning, as opposed to discussing scenarios with specific patients.

Think outside the box It’s unlikely there is a single nurse in the country whose knowledge and skill set hasn’t expanded this year. You may not have attended formal CPD events or training courses, but there are so many other ways you learn. Take a moment to consider the clinical skills or aspects of your role that you know now but didn’t at the start of the year, then reflect on how you gained this knowledge. Donning and doffing personal protective equipment, for example – did you attend a huddle or group session? What other informal training sessions happened in your clinical area? What about systems or new pieces of equipment – how did you master the confidence and ability to use these safely? Once you start looking back over the past few months, you may see that you have attended and participated in lots of informal learning events, all of which have broadened your knowledge and skills.

Reflect on it Effective communication is a vital part of every nurse’s toolbox. During the pandemic, when physical meetings and contact have been limited, communicating sensitively and effectively with patients, colleagues, relatives and other members of the multidisciplinary team has become even more essential. What have you learned about yourself during these times and how can you use this to improve your practice going forward? Put pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – and you have the start of a reflective account. Not only will this count towards your revalidation, it may even help you make sense of all that you have been through so far during the pandemic.


Mandy Day-Calder is a life/health coach with a nursing background. She runs a healthcare training company

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