Editorial

Revalidation rules must be clear from the start

This week a group of 12 men and women will make a decision that will have a profound effect on the nursing and midwifery professions for a generation or longer. They will be asked to approve changes to the way every nurse and midwife in the UK demonstrates that they are keeping their knowledge and skills up to date, and so are fit to remain on the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register.

This week a group of 12 men and women will make a decision that will have a profound effect on the nursing and midwifery professions for a generation or longer. They will be asked to approve changes to the way every nurse and midwife in the UK demonstrates that they are keeping their knowledge and skills up to date, and so are fit to remain on the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register.

The changes, being introduced under the heading of revalidation, have been years in development and are expected to take effect in April next year. They are part of the national response to the Francis report on the care scandal at Stafford Hospital, which recommended the NMC introduce a more robust system for ensuring its registrants continue to develop throughout their careers.

The credibility of the system will stand or fall on whether adequate audit is undertaken

Draft guidance issued last week contains few surprises: you will still have to complete 450 hours of practice and 35 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) every three years, and declare yourself of good health and character. In addition you will have to collate five pieces of feedback, write five ‘reflective accounts’ and have a reflective discussion with a fellow registrant. Once all that is done, your line manager will be asked to confirm that you have complied.

All well and good, but unanswered questions remain – most notably how many nurses and midwives will be asked to provide evidence of their activity. Even in the final guidance being presented to NMC members there is reference only to ‘a sample’, which is not good enough at this late stage. The credibility of the entire system, in the eyes of both the public and the profession, will stand or fall on whether adequate audit is undertaken.

Hopefully at least one council member will challenge NMC officials on why the required number of CPD hours was cut at the 11th hour from 40 to 35. If the only answer is cost, then the decision should be reversed.

To access the RCNi revalidation portfolio go to RCNi.com/eportfolio

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