We asked a group of nurses who recently revalidated to answer some of the most frequently asked questions we receive from nurses who are about to start the process.
All four nurses have one additional benefit in that they all have unlimited access to Nursing Times as part of their organisations’ corporate subscription.
Our panel members include:
Nicola Smith, Clinical Quality and Infection Control Manager, NHS Hardwick CCG
Linda Holt, Nurse Consultant, Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Diane Hall, IBD Clinical Nurse Specialist, Heart of England NHS Trust
Claire Forrester, Haemophilia Nurse Practitioner, Royal Stoke University Hospital
What were your expectations before starting the revalidation process?
Like most nurses, Linda Holt told us she thought revalidation was going to be a lot of extra work. “Although I needed to get it done I kept putting off starting, thinking that I needed to have a huge chunk of time kept to one side,” she said.
“I felt some apprehension,” agreed Nicola Smith. “But I had already started preparing for it last year when the NMC revalidation process was finalised and final guidance was published. I thought that being prepared was essential for the process to be straightforward.”
Was the process as you expected?
Our four respondents all voiced surprise that revalidation was not as scary as they had first anticipated. “The process was a lot easier than expected,” said Ms Hall, and Ms Holt agreed: “It turned out to be less complicated than I thought.”
“The process was quite straightforward, and I didn’t have any problems whilst undertaking it,” added Ms Smith.
How did you compile and log your evidence throughout the revalidation process?
Ms Holt said she based her evidence on her supervision discussions and used the Nursing Times Learning Passport, “I liked the fact that I could keep going back to it, and that it was all in one place,” she said.
Ms Hall updated it when she had meetings and study days. “The data was easy to load onto the Nursing Times Learning Passport and revalidation on the NMC site was really easy to do,” she explained. “The Learning Passport kept all the information in one place online. It was also easy to upload certificates to”.
Do you think the new revalidation process will make nurses safer to care?
There was consensus among our panel that the revalidation process will make nurses more reflective about their work and encourage peer support.
“I think it will make nurses reflect more and see how they can improve clinical practice,” said Ms Smith.
“You reflect as a nurse anyway but it tends to be ‘on the go’ due to the busy nature of the job,” agreed Ms Holt. “I think the structure of the requirements forces you to physically sit down and find the time to think things through more thoroughly”.
Ms Hall pointed out that some nurses often work in isolation, explaining: “I do think [revalidation] makes all nurses stop and reflect and employers will have to provide support to nurses to go through the process. Nurses working in isolation will have to ensure they regularly touch base with other nursing staff in order to go through the revalidation process. So this will be valuable”.
Ms Smith agreed that the introduction of reflective feedback could encourage nurses to support each other, “It will ensure that nurses keep up-to-date and that practice is evidence based, and also encourage professional development and better peer support,” she said.
Ms Forrester said she thought revalidation could make nurses safer to care in some cases. “It depends on the integrity of the person and the person checking,” she explained. “Anyone underperforming or not managing to be guided by their management is offered help [by the NMC] to address issues and find solutions”.
What advice would you give our readers who might be approaching their revalidation deadline?
Our respondents stressed the importance of allowing time to prepare.
“Don’t leave it till the last few weeks,” Ms Holt said. “It’s not that it’s time consuming, but you need the time to think and anxieties set in when deadlines approach.”
That said, one thing is clear from speaking with our panel: there is no need to panic.
“It is not scary!” Ms Forrester assured us. “Just take time to read the NMC guidelines and follow the instructions – it is straightforward. Really think about everything you do and reflections will come easily.
“The participatory learning is more than you think; being on a study day counts and attending talks with interaction and questions,” she added.
Do you think that access to Nursing Times Learning helped you through revalidation?
Ms Hall said corporate access to Nursing Times “helped considerably.” She explained: “The passport was so easy to fill out and it saved time trying to compile a professional portfolio”.
Ms Holt said her corporate access showed her where to find new material. “I didn’t access anything through Nursing Times prior to this. Now I’ve been on the website quite a few times and have been looking at what learning opportunities there are,” she said.
“It certainly gave me some valuable CPD hours,” Ms Smith agreed.
What or who inspires you in your CPD and professional development?
“I’ve been lucky and had some very good mentors early on in my career; they supported and inspired me to always try to be the best I can be, and I’ve continued with that ethos,” Ms Holt said.
“I’ve also always tried to imagine my patients as my family members and thought about what level of care I’d want for them, naturally the best, so I try to deliver that level of care,” she added.
Ms Forrester agreed that having a mentor or a colleague to look up to is a great asset to a nurse’s professional development.
“My line manager has completed her doctorate and is a real inspiration. My peers in my field [also inspire me] as it is specialised and we treat rare conditions,” she said.
She also said that feedback from her patients inspires her to ensure she gives the best evidence-based care she can.
Whereas Ms Smith’s inspiration comes from the pressure of the job and wanting to achieve the best care for her patients. “I think that working in a CCG puts me in quite a unique position, where my clinical experience, knowledge and expertise is constantly required, put to the test and also valued”, she said. “Through my area of work I regularly see where there are failings in care and poor clinical practice, and where professional development is not a priority for some. This inspires me to be proactive with my CPD and professional development; then I can fulfil my role more effectively, and be able to influence patient safety, quality and health outcomes.”
One thing is for sure, all nurses will need to revalidate in order to stay on the register. The good news is those who have been through and come out the other side have a clear message: it’s not as bad as you’re expecting, and you might even find the process helps you reflect and improve care.
Thank you to Nicola, Linda, Diane and Claire
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