Nurses’ feedback will play an important part in deciding whether doctors are fit to continue practising, under plans being developed for revalidation.
The importance of nurses’ input is being stressed as the final plans for doctors’ revalidation, or regular competency assessments, are being consulted on by the General Medical Council.
The plans would see nurses providing written replies to questions about doctors’ performance, covering areas such as clinical skills, prescribing, time management and communication abilities.
GMC chief executive Niall Dickson told Nursing Times: “Medicine is not practised in isolation. We anticipate that, during the revalidation cycle, doctors will seek feedback on their practice from a range of colleagues, nursing staff included.”
“While patient feedback will be important, it may be that these colleagues provide the sort of insightful comments that can really help professionals to improve their clinical, communication and team-working skills and these improvements will benefit both the individual doctor and patients.”
Research into staff and patient questionnaires is being carried out by the Peninsula Medical School at Exeter University, with the final findings expected in early 2011.
It involves pilots being carried at around 10 sites across England and Wales. Doctors taking part have selected 20 colleagues each to provide feedback.
Professor of general practice and primary care John Campbell said: “The nurse’s input is very important. They often have a lot of insight into how their doctors are operating and can influence that behaviour.”
Nurses tended to provide a very different perspective from patients, although most doctors did “very well” in both assessments, he said.
He called for nurses to respond to the GMC’s consultation, which launched last week, saying: “It would be interesting to see what nurses feel about the opportunity to comment on doctors’ performance.
“There’s a real chance for them to influence revalidation through feedback,” he added.
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