Expert advice

Nurse revalidation: what to do if you’re running out of time

Advice on how to revalidate while facing extra challenges posed by COVID-19 – and what to do if you need to request an extension

Advice on how to revalidate while facing extra challenges posed by COVID-19 – and what to do if you need to request an extension

What do I need in order to revalidate?

All nurses and midwives in the UK, and nursing associates in England, must revalidate every three years to maintain their place on the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register.

The process involves meeting requirements that demonstrate you are keeping your skills and knowledge up to date and practising safely and effectively.

The requirements are:

    Advice on how to revalidate while facing extra challenges posed by COVID-19 – and what to do if you need to request an extension

    Picture: ATA

    What do I need in order to revalidate?

    All nurses and midwives in the UK, and nursing associates in England, must revalidate every three years to maintain their place on the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register.

    The process involves meeting requirements that demonstrate you are keeping your skills and knowledge up to date and practising safely and effectively.

    The requirements are:

    • 450 practice hours.
    • 35 hours of continuing professional development (CPD), including 20 hours of participatory learning – learning that involves interaction with other professionals.
    • Five pieces of practice-related feedback.
    • Five written reflective accounts.
    • Reflective discussion.
    • Health and character declaration.
    • Professional indemnity.
    • Confirmation from another professional that you have met the revalidation requirements.

    Can I ask for an extension because of COVID-19?

    The NMC has been encouraging registrants to revalidate as normal during the pandemic. But the regulator says it recognises that social distancing, an increased workload and working from home are among the reasons why you may find it difficult to complete your revalidation.

    If you can revalidate on time you should do so, but temporary changes to legislation allow the NMC to respond more flexibly to extension requests. For example, those due to revalidate between March and June 2020 were granted an automatic 12-week revalidation extension.

    Registrants with good reason can ask for an eight-week extension once their revalidation application is open. You should make your request via your NMC online account, where COVID-19 is one of the reasons available for asking for an extension.

    ‘We will consider these requests on a case by case basis,’ the NMC says.

    If you are granted an extension, the extra eight weeks will begin from your revalidation due date, which falls on the first of the month. If your revalidation is successful, your three-year registration period will also start from your original renewal date.

    If your employer asks for proof that you have been granted an extension, you should show them the confirmation email sent to you by the NMC.

    NMC senior nursing education adviser Sue West says: ‘If you can revalidate on time, please do so as normal. But we do understand the pressures the pandemic has brought on nurses in the UK. We recognise these may make it difficult for you to complete your revalidation.’

    What counts towards my CPD?

    Webinars are participatory learning that count towards revalidation

    CPD activities that count towards revalidation are wide-ranging and may include learning events such as conferences and workshops to reviewing journal articles and noting practice-related outcomes.

    For revalidation purposes, CPD is classed as either individual or participatory and you must provide evidence of having engaged in both.

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    The NMC acknowledges the pandemic has restricted face-to-face activities, so some types of CPD may be difficult to access. But it stresses that to meet participatory learning requirements, you have to undertake an activity that involves interaction with one or more other professional – whether physically or virtually. ‘You don’t have to be in the same room as the people you undertake the activity with,’ says NMC guidance on how to revalidate during COVID-19.

    Examples of participatory learning suggested by the regulator include:

    • Online forum discussions.
    • Webinars.
    • Facebook live events.
    • Shadowing and mentoring.

    What counts towards reflective practice?

    Before the pandemic, the regulator advised that reflective discussion should take place face-to-face, but acknowledges this may be difficult for now.

    If possible, the meeting should still be in person, but if not, you should ‘make the most of phone calls, video chat and other technology’ to ensure discussions with your reflective partner and the person confirming your revalidation go ahead.

    ‘You can send them a copy of your revalidation portfolio so that you can both see what you’re discussing,’ says the NMC.

    Regardless of whether your reflective discussion is face-to-face or virtual, it should cover the areas outlined in the revalidation requirements.

    Who should I speak to if I’m struggling to meet the requirements?

    If you feel that even with the eight-week extension you are unable to meet revalidation requirements, you should email revalidation.escalation@nmc-uk.org.

    The NMC can then discuss any additional support it may be able to offer and advise on the best way forward.

    Ms West advises thinking ahead to avoid having to request an extension.

    ‘Revalidation is a key part of your professional life and my advice would be to avoid leaving this process to the last minute,’ she says.

    ‘Regularly reflecting on your practice and documenting anything that stands out, even in a few bullet points, is helpful. Planning well ahead for reflective discussions and confirmation of your revalidation is also beneficial.’


    Further information from the NMC


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