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Revalidation 'risks early retirement by practice nurse workforce'


Concerns have been raised that the introduction of a major new system of checks on nurses could drive practice nurses into early retirement due to a lack of support from employers.

The new revalidation requirements that nurses will need to meet to remain in practice – which comes into effect in April – could be seen by some as time-consuming and result in them “not bothering”, it has been claimed.

“We have to think of ways to make this facilitated so it just becomes easy. If we make it hard for our nurses they will just retire”

Dr Steve Mowle

In a major report published earlier this week by the Queen’s Nursing Institute, almost half of practice nurses reported that they did not always receive support from their employer for professional development.

At the same time, the report also found a third of the practice nursing workforce was planning to retire in the next five years.

Revalidation, brought in by the Nursing and Midwifery Council to replace the post-registration education and practice (PREP) system, will require nurses to compile a range of evidence every three years to demonstrate their practice is up to date.

This includes showing they have done 450 hours of practice, five pieces of practice-related feedback, five written reflective accounts, and at least 35 hours of continuing professional development.

At an event to the launch the QNI report, leaders from the nursing and medical profession urged general practice employers to support registrants or risk losing them.

“One of the issues around retaining people is we have to get a grasp on revalidation and help people through the process,” said Monica Fletcher, chief executive of the charity Education for Health.

“[Practice nurses being more likely to be targeted for audit] is a big imperative in terms of supporting people through the revalidation process”

Howard Catton

“I’m actually concerned in thinking about revalidation that, if I’m a nurse quite close to retirement and all this stuff is happening around me, I may just not bother, she added.

Also speaking at the event, Dr Steve Mowle, chair of the London branch of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said: “We have to think of ways to make this facilitated, so it just becomes easy. If we make it hard for our nurses, they will just retire – just like some of our [medical] colleagues.”

Howard Catton, the Royal College of Nursing’s head of policy, who was attended the launch, added that general practice nurse portfolios were more likely to be selected for audit by the NMC.

The regulatory has stated it will target more isolated registrants for its audit, as their practice is considered more at risk of not being up to date.

Monica Fletcher

Monica Fletcher

Monica Fletcher

“That is a big imperative in terms of supporting people through the revalidation process,” he said.

He added that the report showed a “woeful” 27% of general practices offered placements to undergraduate student nurses, suggesting potential difficulties in plugging the gap left by the departure of older registrants.

At the same time, he said, the government’s pledge to deliver 5,000 more GPs by 2020 would require an equivalent 15% increase – more than 2,000 – in practice nurse numbers.

“That, with your third due to retire, is about half the current [practice nurse] population you would need to replace in order to deal with those challenges,” Mr Catton warned.


Readers' comments (22)

  • It won't be just practice nurses. Nurses near retirement in any clinical area that may have previously kept up their registration to keep their hand in may choose not to now. Personally the sooner I can stop funding the ineffective, extravagant, nurse disliking, bloated NMC the better!

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  • david lowry

    I have to say i am very disappointed by these individuals who leave the shop floor and take administrative roles and lose touch with the real world and impose unrealistic and egotistical ideals to make themselves feel important. I have kept up my registration for the last 12 years even thought I am currently working in the USA and they have stringent requirement, particularly TX and FL. These new requirments are unnecessary and punative not only to those working in the UK but for those of us working overseas who did have plans to return. I think many of us will not renew and deal with this in the future when some commen sence may prevail

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  • what about the NMC who checks them? most of them will be people with axes to grind

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  • Correct......I am a very experienced nurse working towards retirement and it could come sooner. Re validation. There is very little support and help. I am struggling and paying for evidence i.e. this subscription and courses. I don't mind standard setting but this is a grind.

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  • I have to revalidate 2 weeks after I'm 61. Am rapidly coming to the conclusion that I will not bother and live like a pauper until I get my state pension at 66

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  • I have to my revalidation by the end of this year when I turn 60 and have to decided to retire by the end of December 2019, when I am 63, because I don't want all this hassle and I am fed up of the NMC increasing their fees and not giving us anything back!

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  • Let's be realistic when April comes and there's not enough practice nurses/ nurses this will sink like a bad f!#t. We suspect already the DoH have issues with its implementation (refer to October). The NMC are so out of touch in this regards it's embarrassing. There are better and simpler ways I'm sure and this ain't it. Makes me laugh theyre like all well done you and fantastic example. But the majority of front line see behind it all, and I know many experience nurses who have now left and are leaving. Good way to fuel the exodus.

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  • I have just retired at 55 after 30+ years in the NHS & 20 yrs of ICU I had hoped that I would get a part time nursing job or work as and when I wanted to. I am due to revalidate in January 2017. So if I spend my own money on my own education who will I get to sign me off? If I don't want to work > 12hrs a week is it cost effective?
    At a time when Trusts are recruiting from abroad, when each day at work is an absolute slog the NMC is shooting the profession right in the foot. Will we coming running back, I don't think so.

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  • Shortage of nurses and especially highly qualified, experienced and dedicated ones, including those trained in the UK. too many obstacles placed in their way and nhs employers only have themselves to blame!

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  • 24 JANUARY, 2016 9:27 AM

    Too true, I wonder the amount of older nurses who have felt pushed out before and running up to the now? It's a curious thing whether they are felt to be more likely to resist malign management therefore perhaps given a hard time so as to move on. So yes it does seem like from my experiences that this does seem the case. Have you noticed the advertising or demand for how to get younger staff? Is this in part a technique to get those who can be more likely brainwashed by the conveyor belt machine of the care industry? We know not all nurses leaving are of retirement or near retirement age and so part of the issue of retention is slipping under the rug. Either way there are I'm sure many nurses out there that are simply not nursing. But without experiences the hit the ground running for new and younger nurses is more likely, but no good if no support. I have just left also had enough of the manipulative propaganda machine, extremely bad management culture and old boy network pulling the strings.

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