Last week Nursing Times scored a victory for nursing and journalism by forcing the government to change its position.
We were made aware that the Department of Health did not intend to compel employers in England to support nurses and midwives through the revalidation process. Meanwhile, the chief nurses of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland committed to compulsory employer support for the new system that the Nursing and Midwifery Council last month confirmed will start in April 2016.
Failure to mandate employer support would have forced registrants in England to master the new system for themselves, and to complete all their activities - including 35 hours of CPD - without any financial or practical assistance.
With the help of the senior nurses who had the courage to voice their concerns to us, and the many nurses who vocalised on Twitter what revalidation means for patients and the profession, we have persuaded the government to think again and ensure all employers of nurses and midwives in England support revalidation although the DH says it will monitor the financial impact closely.
Revalidation is not without its critics. But at Nursing Times we believe nurses should continually update their skills, gather feedback and reflect on their practice to improve it, and should be able to demonstrate that they are doing this at least every three years.
We support revalidation because it creates better nurses, makes patients safer and puts nursing and midwifery on a par with medicine - and the other allied health professionals, all of whom are required to revalidate.
Some registrants complain revalidation will be onerous - and I am sympathetic to the fact that overworked nurses will consider this yet another task to complete. But they should have been doing most of the revalidation activities anyway as part of PREP and general good practice. And they should not be so overworked that doing an hour’s CPD a month and gathering five pieces of feedback, reflecting on their practice five times and having a conversation with another nurse every three years is considered a burden.
If nurses can’t manage those activities to keep their skills updated, the problem isn’t revalidation - it’s a lack of nurses. That is the issue the government should be tackling. So let’s get behind this and make sure the professional development of nurses is supported.
Jenni Middleton, editor
Follow me on Twitter @nursingtimesed