Analysis

Revalidation is a chance to challenge practice, improve and innovate

In just over five months, nurses and midwives will need to fulfil the requirements of a new revalidation model. Following the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) decision to launch revalidation at its council meeting last week, nearly 16,000 nurses will be first through the system when their registration is due for renewal in April.

Under the model, nurses will face three-yearly checks to ensure they are fit to remain on the NMC register, and this will mean they have to meet a series of requirements.

Contrary to the existing post-registration education and practice (PREP) standards, which require the individual to confirm they have completed the required hours of practice and continuing professional development (CPD), the new system will require someone else to confirm the nurse meets requirements.

Recently revised draft guidance outlining what revalidation entails was also approved by council last week.

RCN head of policy Howard Catton is confident most registrants are aware of revalidation, but suspects many nurses were waiting for the council’s decision last week and looking for a clearer outline of what the model will involve, before getting fully into preparations.

Nurses will be expected to show how they fulfil revalidation requirements, in line with the Code, which sets out professional standards for practice.

‘Following council’s decision, revalidation will become very, very real for nurses,’ he says. ‘Everyone has received a copy of the Code so it is important nurses start to become familiar with it.’

Awareness raising

Mr Catton says that the RCN has worked hard to raise awareness to ensure nurses know their renewal date and are signed on to NMC Online so that they can submit their revalidation documents.

By the end of last month, 467,423 people had signed up to NMC Online, accounting for roughly 68% of the nursing register.

Mr Catton says the discussions in which nurses will reflect on practice with a fellow registrant are the ‘jewel in the crown’ in terms of the new model.

‘This interaction gives the potential to constructively challenge practice, to improve and to innovate,’ he explains.

Royal College of Midwives head of education and learning Carmel Lloyd says revalidation will not be too much of a leap for most midwives because they are used to having statutory supervision with an annual review checking that they satisfy PREP standards, but writing reflective accounts will be new.

Picture credit: Neil O’Connor

Her main advice for writing accounts is to keep it straightforward. ‘The key thing to remember is that there is no right or wrong way to write the accounts and this is not an academic piece of work,’ she explains.

‘The important thing is that the learning or reflection on feedback from the patient relates to the Code.’

NMC chief executive and registrar Jackie Smith says: ‘The NMC holds one of the largest registers of healthcare professionals in the world, and the introduction of revalidation is the most significant regulatory change in our history.

‘We believe that revalidation will give the public confidence that the people who care for them are continuously striving to improve their practice. Indeed, nurses and midwives who piloted the new model told us that they too believe it will deliver real benefits in raising standards and protecting the public’.

See CPD page 52

Guide to revalidation

Start preparing now for its introduction with our cut-out-and-keep guide to the main issues

Why is revalidation being introduced?

The new model is designed to raise awareness of the Code professional standards expected of nurses, and give greater assurance that nurses can deliver care safely.

What is the revalidation process?

The NMC will notify you at least 60 days before your application is due. Once you receive your notification, you will need to go to NMC Online and complete your portfolio and application form.

What should be recorded in the portfolio?

In order to revalidate, you need to provide the following supportive evidence:

450 practice hours or 900 hours if revalidating as both nurse and midwife.

35 hours of continuing professional development. Of those, at least 20 hours must have included participatory learning.

Five pieces of practice-related feedback.

Five written reflective accounts.

Reflective discussion.

Health and character – fit and able to practise.

Professional indemnity arrangement.

Form signed by confirmer.

What role do appraisals have in the revalidation process?

The revalidation process is designed to be undertaken as part of a regular appraisal. If you do not have regular appraisals you could consider asking an employer to arrange an appraisal before your application date.

How do I obtain confirmation?

For the first time, nurses will have to obtain confirmation from another professional that they have met all the requirements before they apply to renew their place on the register every three years. The confirmation process involves having a discussion about how you fulfil the revalidation requirements with an appropriate confirmer. Your line manager is an appropriate confirmer. The NMC provides a form that must be completed and signed by your confirmer. This should be completed, stored and shared in manual paper form instead of electronically.

What information is needed to demonstrate the CPD I have undertaken?

Records should include: the CPD method, a description of the topic and how it related to your practice, the dates on which the activity was undertaken, the number of hours, an identification of which part of the Code is most relevant to the activity and evidence that you undertook the CPD activity.

How should I record practice hours?

The NMC has created a template to help you record the practice hours you have completed, which will form part of your discussion with your confirmer. Your records should include:

Dates of practice.

Number of hours you undertook.

Name, address and postcode of the organisations.

Scope of practice.

Work setting.

A description of the work you undertook.

Evidence of those practice hours, such as timesheets, job specifications and role profiles.

When do I need to submit my revalidation application?

On the first day of the month in which your registration expires. If your renewal date is April 30, your revalidation application date will be April 1.

For more information go to www.rcni.com/revalidation

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