Victoria Watson from Capsticks explains how the new rules on revalidation for nurses and midwives will work.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is introducing the process of revalidation for nurses and midwives from April 2016, strengthening the existing three-yearly registration renewal process. The purpose of revalidation is to ensure that nurses and midwives continue to remain fit to practise throughout their careers, in line with the requirements of their professional registration, to improve public protection. It is designed to encourage nurses and midwives to seek regular feedback from service users and colleagues and to use the NMC Code in their day-to-day practice.
As part of the revalidation process, nurses and midwives will be expected to collect evidence and maintain records to demonstrate that they have met the revalidation requirements in the three years since their registration was last renewed, or since they joined the register. These are:
- A minimum of 450 practice hours (900 for those revalidating as both a nurse and a midwife)
- 35 hours’ Continuing Professional Development (CPD), of which at least 20 hours must be participatory learning
- Five pieces of practice-related feedback
- Five written reflective accounts on their CPD and/or practice-related feedback and/or an event or experience in their practice and how this relates to the NMC Code
- Reflective discussion with another NMC-registered nurse or midwife
- Health and character declaration
- Professional indemnity arrangement.
Further details of these requirements and how they can be met can be found on the MNC website at http://revalidation.nmc.org.uk/.
Once they have collected the evidence that they have met the necessary requirements, nurses and midwives are then required to have a discussion with an appropriate ‘confirmer’ to demonstrate that they have met the revalidation requirements. The confirmer is likely to be the nurse/midwife’s line manager, although they are free to nominate any appropriate person. Where a nurse/midwife has more than one employer/line manager, they are only required to seek one confirmation, and should decide who will be the most appropriate confirmer.
The NMC recommends that the confirmation discussion takes place as part of the regular appraisal process, although there should be a clear distinction between the two processes.
The confirmer must sign and date the form published by the NMC to record that the confirmation discussion has taken place.
Nurses and midwives will be required to apply for revalidation using NMC Online. They can submit their application up to 60 days before their revalidation application date, which is the first day of the month in which their registration expires. Applications must be submitted by the revalidation application date, with renewal taking place at the end of that month. The nurse/midwife will also be required to pay their renewal fee as part of the application process.
In the majority of cases, employers are likely to be required to act as confirmers to determine whether a nurse or midwife meets the revalidation requirements. Although the NMC will not take action against employers who inadvertently provide incorrect information in support of a revalidation application, employers are expected to act honestly and in good faith throughout the process.
Revalidation does not replace the existing fitness to practise procedures, and confirming that a nurse or midwife meets the revalidation requirements is not guaranteeing that he or she is fit to practise. Employees who are subject to internal disciplinary proceedings may still meet the revalidation requirements, although any concerns may fall to be raised via the fitness to practise procedures.
Employers should take steps now to ensure that their nurses and midwives are prepared to meet the new revalidation requirements. Such steps might include:
- Raise awareness and communicate new requirements to nurses and midwives
- Encourage nurses and midwives to register for NMC Online
- Identify application and renewal dates
- Put in place appropriate resources to support process (such as ESR)
- Make arrangements for reflective and confirmation discussions
- Review appraisal process and build revalidation requirements into that process
- Ensure appropriate arrangements for feedback are in place
- Train staff to support the revalidation process
- Assist employees in keeping evidence (this could be by offering an e-portfolio or via an existing professional portfolio)
Whilst revalidation is ultimately the responsibility of the individual nurse or midwife, employers will have a role to play in supporting their staff to achieve revalidation. Employers who positively engage with the process will find it a useful tool in measuring their employees’ competence and any developmental needs, and may benefit from better staff engagement and patient care.
Victoria Watson, Partner, Employment Department, Capsticks