The Nursing and Midwifery Council has rowed back on plans for revalidation that could have meant nurses’ fitness to practise being confirmed by someone with no nursing experience or training.
A report to last week’s NMC Council meeting shows the first phase of a major consultation on revalidation attracted nearly 10,000 responses, including 3,000 from members of the public.
“It came out very strongly that people wanted confirmation to be by a fellow registrant”
Under proposals set out by the regulator, nurses would need to have their fitness to practise confirmed by a third party. Initial plans indicated this could be a manager who was not a nurse or midwife.
However, this idea did not prove very popular with respondents to the first part of the consultation. The person most frequently selected as being appropriate to provide third party confirmation was an NMC-registered nurse or midwife who oversees the work of the nurse or midwife − 75% of individuals and 82% of organisations were of this view.
In addition 84% of midwives supported a supervisor of midwives being the confirmer.
The meeting heard this idea would be explored in the second phase of the consultation on revalidation, which kicked off in May, following an initial consultation phase that began in January.
“The consultation is – and always was – designed to hone down from a range of options in the first half of the consultation”
It could mean nurses who report to non-clinical staff may need to get confirmation from two people unless their line manager is registered with the NMC.
RCN head of policy Howard Catton welcomed the rethink and said it showed the NMC had listened to nurses.
“When we asked our members, it came out very strongly that people wanted confirmation to be by a fellow registrant,” he said.
He added that the model would have to be flexible enough to work for registrants in “unusual, unique or isolated roles”, such as an occupational health nurse working in a factory.
Requirements for continuing professional development also look set to be strengthened under the revalidation plans. The NMC is consulting on increasing the number of hours of CPD nurses and midwives must do to stay registered from 35 over a three-year period to 40.
The regulator is also considering specifying that at least half of this time should be spent in “participatory learning” such as attending a course or a conference.
There are currently no set standards for CPD. Nursing Times understands that some nurses have previously cited watching an episode of a hospital TV drama as CPD activity.
The report said the proposed change is based on research that shows the most effective CPD activities are those that take place over time and involve “an interactive method of delivery”, said the report.
Regarding the consultation process, a spokeswoman for the NMC said: “We have listened to thousands of people across a range of sectors and settings whose contribution has helped us to shape revalidation to this point. The model will be agreed by [the NMC’s] council at the end of the year.
She added: “The consultation is – and always was – designed to hone down from a range of options in the first half of the consultation to become more specific about the model in this, the second half.
“Based on the invaluable feedback we gathered in part one, we are now seeking input about whether a registrant confirmer will work for all nurses and midwives no matter what their employment setting.”
She urged Nursing Times readers to let the regulator know their views on the issue by taking part in the second phase of its consultation on revalidation.