New revalidation procedures for nurses and midwives are improving attitudes and behaviours among staff and helping to foster safer care, according to the latest independent analysis of the scheme.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council launched revalidation in April 2016 in a bid to “enhance public protection” in the wake of the so-called Francis Inquiry into the care scandal at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.
“We’ll take on board the recommendations of this evaluation”
Nurses and midwives must revalidate every three years to stay on the NMC register and the updated process involves obtaining feedback from colleagues as well as writing and discussing reflective accounts of their work.
Ipsos MORI Social Research Institute has been commissioned by the regulator to conduct an independent evaluation of the programme during its first three years.
Its second annual report has now been published, which has concluded that the benefits of revalidation are currently outweighing the burdens.
The report authors said they recognised that the “extremely challenging context” for the introduction of the revalidation remained with regards to workforce pressures.
They said: “This context is characterised by tight financial constraints across the health and social care sector, and major staffing issues, not least the potential impact of the United Kingdom’s decision to exit the European Union on the nursing and midwifery workforce.”
However, the evaluation found no significant issues in the delivery of the programme in its second year and that teething programmes from the inaugural year had now been resolved.
“This context is characterised by tight financial constraints across the health and social care sector”
Ipsos MORI report
Latest figures show 204,218 nurses and midwives went through the revalidation process in the past year, bringing the total to 406,917. This means two thirds of registrants have now revalidated with the NMC.
The evaluation also suggested that revalidation may be helping to deliver positive attitudinal and behavioural changes towards the NMC code, which sets out the professional standards that nurses and midwives must uphold to be registered.
The report praised reflective discussion as one of the most beneficial aspects of revalidation. Registrants feel positive towards the process and believe it will improve their ability to practise safely and effectively both as individuals and a workforce, the report said.
It noted that, to revalidate successfully, nurses and midwives must obtain confirmation from a suitable person – know as the “confirmer” – that they have met the necessary requirements.
The evaluation found that confirmers who were not on the NMC register felt more anxious about the duty and they recommended that the regulator offer them extra support and guidance in the future to boost their confidence.
Emma Broadbent, NMC director of registration and revalidation, said: “Nurses and midwives deliver world class care to millions of people across the UK each year.
“Whether in hospitals, care homes or the community, revalidation is helping them to improve the care that they deliver. They’re reflecting more on their practice, analysing what they can improve and using what they learn to develop as professionals,” she said.
“It gives you a chance to look back at your development and freshen up your knowledge and experience”
She added: “Over 400,000 nurses and midwives have now revalidated but we know that many thousands more will do so in the coming months and we’ll take on board the recommendations of this evaluation as we continue to support all those going through the process.”
Commenting on the revalidation process, registrant Adriana Brad said: “It gives you a chance to look back at your development and freshen up your knowledge and experience. It gives you the opportunity to [reflect] on all the years you have worked and help improve your practice.”
Prior to the NMC, doctors’ regulator the General Medical Council introduced revaluation in 2012. A final evaluation on the GMC system concluded that it did not lead to change in practice but identified reflection as key to generating change.