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NMC hopes revalidation will fix 'weaknesses' in current system

The Nursing and Midwifery Council has admitted that it has “weaknesses” in its current system of checking if nurses should stay on the register and says that the revalidation process is an opportunity for it to improve.

Speaking at a fringe event at the Royal College of Nursing’s annual congress in Liverpool, the NMC’s director of practice Katerina Kolyva conceded that the regulator had not “been clear” or “articulated” particularly well what they expected from registrants.

Ms Kolyva said “from what we have perceived ourselves” – and “received feedback on” from registrants – it was evident the NMC had not “specified” what types of practice, content and continuous professional development it considered “good” for nurses to do.

Challenged by staff nurse Nikki Williams about how effective they would be at running a new process of revalidation when they weren’t even managing the current “spot-checking” of portfolios, Ms Kolyva conceded the number of portfolios the regulator checked each year was “statistically insignificant”.

Ms Williams said: “I don’t know a single person who has had their portfolio checked ever. How can you run this new system of revalidation when you can’t even manage that?”

The NMC is publicly committed to rolling out revalidation from December 2015.

Under current proposals for revalidation, every three years at the point of re-registration, nurses and midwives will have to declare they have practised for 450 hours and followed CPD requirements.

Ms Kolyva told delegates that the NMC had calculated that the “development of revalidation would be within its current financial envelope”, when asked whether the process would cost registrants more.

Over 100 nurses attended the packed lunchtime meeting. Although a few said they agreed with the idea of revalidation in principle, many said they had a lack of confidence in the current process and in the NMC’s ability to deliver it.

Ms Kolyva said that the NMC was trying to learn from the issues that doctors have had with revalidation by the General Medical Council, and was keen to involve registrants and RCN members in “getting it right”.

Earlier in the day, RCN members had debated the issue of revalidation in the main conference hall.

A resolution submitted by the RCN’s UK Stewards’ Committee, asked whether the NMC “will be able to deliver an effective and fair revalidation process”.

Readers' comments (4)

  • Having taught for several weeks on a healthcare course at a college I was surprised that several nurses who had not had any practical nursing contact with patients for over 20 years and yet were still allowed to register on the NMC register as nurses! Also many nurses teaching at university also have not had practical nursing posts for many years! I believe these nurses do not intend to care for the public and therefore should be removed from the register as nurses, it is evident their practice is out of date, I think the register would then show nurses who actually provide nursing care! Revalidation states 450 hours of "practice" not sat in a classroom teaching about historic nursing as opposed to current nursing, which is different from what they practiced years ago! Maybe the NMC should have a sub-section where ex-nurses who according to the register are still active need to move from active on the register to inactive nurse, but listing them as a nursing teaching roles, where revalidation would highlight 20 years of non-practice, surely this misrepresents nurses who practice nursing and not teach nursing?

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  • Speaking as a registrant who is on Part 1 and 2 of the register, I agree in some part with your words, however, I dislike the sweeping statements, never good for someone engaged in teaching. I am a University lecturer and I fall into your category however, disrespectfully it is worded. I undergo a rigorous process each year under Supervision of Midwifery and have to prove my currency in order to teach midwifery students. My SoM works in clincial practice so I am assessed accordingly. I have to undergo this process in order to keep my job as midwifery educator and I have to sign an intention to practice. In midwifery, I am counted as a practising midwife because I hold a role for which a midwifery qualification is essential- midwife teacher. I do know from my midwifery experiences that nursing is not as rigorous in the same respect of documenting hours and the type of experiences and how it benefits practice. I also teach a clinically focussed course and like other colleagues, in order to maintain currency and deliver the best practice, I work part-time in clinical practice so have to undergo all the training and development that my other clinical colleagues do. Perhaps we are fortunate in our area of the North West that practice wants to keep the links tight and we both respect each other. I am sure that many teachers would argue they provide more than 'historic nursing'- HEI students, commissioners and practice colleagues would soon address that in their annual monitorings. Are colleges different?
    Also, if you look on the register, you will see that teaching qualifications are listed.
    Is the issue that teachers are on the Part 1 register or that the mechanism for proving currency is not effective?

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  • Also to add (3.20pm comment) my clinically focussed course in a nursing course and I work in nursing practice, just in case it seems I too just 'tick the box' for Part 1. I ensure I fulfil my 450 hours in three years before signing up. Also I know I do my 35 hours study.

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  • Ms Kolyva conceded the number of portfolios the regulator checked each year was “statistically insignificant”.

    I am under the impression having read it in the Parliamentary report, that the NMC don't check portfolios but take it on faith that Nurses keep them. This faith is ill founded, in my experience. None of the nurses I worked with in my last job had one and laughed at me when I raised the issue.

    But then the whole of the NMC is a ropey organization. With a 25% staff turnover a year I expect it struggles to keep its own head above water let alone ensuring it fulfills its roles honestly or effectively.

    Well done Nikki Williams spot on !

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