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'Nursing must rediscover the ability to articulate its value'


New year will bring about some real challenges for nursing – but also some opportunities.

Revalidation – the new system of ensuring that nurses and midwives undertake CPD and reflective activities to maintain their skills – will be introduced in April 2016 by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Every nurse or midwife renewing their registration with the regulator from April 1 will have to do a number of things, such as provide five pieces of feedback, five reflective accounts, have a reflective discussion with another registrant and demonstrate they have done at least 35 hours of CPD in the past three years prior to re-registration.

The reflective discussion is a real opportunity to think about your practice and see it through someone else’s eyes. And make no mistake, that is enormously valuable.

”Nurses see patients at all stages of their care – and in every setting where care is delivered”

Nurses see patients at all stages of their care – and in every setting where care is delivered. No other clinical role has this comprehensive overview and insight. When the nursing numbers are depleted, we are therefore depleting the people who can provide this type of care and have a deeper understanding of the patient or service user need.

If you are revalidating this year and having that reflective discussion with another registrant, make sure you emphasise just how important your role is and what the nursing role means.

Take the opportunity to reflect with another registrant and think about the nursing contribution.

In my view, this is not done enough.

”In many ways, the public perception of nursing is still bedpans and bandages”

In many ways, the public perception of nursing is still bedpans and bandages, and this rather antiquated view of nursing still persists – although revalidation and the reflective discussion is private, and not public, it is an opportunity to reflect on and speak about the nursing contribution – to gather your thoughts about what you do, and what nurses do, albeit to another registrant.

No one will articulate how the profession has changed unless nurses do. If nurses are to overthrow their image as handmaidens to doctors or that of Carry On-style matrons, nurses must do that themselves.

So let’s start by having the reflective discussion and having conversations about how important nursing is with each other in the reflective discussion, and this will be good practice for when nurses need to spread the word about how fantastic nursing is to the public, media and other health professionals.

”I doubt very much that pay rises will be offered to NHS staff freely, and without a fight in 2016”

2016 will, as I say, be challenging.

Pay will no doubt be high on the agenda, as I doubt very much that pay rises will be offered to NHS staff freely, and without a fight in 2016.

Staffing numbers will again be the topic of conversation in trust boards and other organisations providing care. So, as I said earlier, practising vocalising the contribution of nursing will get people into the habit of arguing the case for why nurse staffing numbers are important.

In some areas, it seems nursing has lost the ability to articulate its value. A resolution for 2016 is that we find that ability again.

Post-Francis everyone understood the value of the nursing role and there was a clamour to recruit more nurses – it felt like we could at last see a world in which nurses were valued.

But now, with letters to provider directors of nursing from the regulators and NHS England suggesting that 1:8 as a nurse to patient ratio os a guide rather than a rule, that focus on nurse staffing seems to have dwindled. It is a shame we have lost that momentum. But we must not lose the nursing voice too.

Nursing needs to fight for nursing. The time is now.


Readers' comments (3)

  • Revalidation will NOT prove the worth of nursing. The use of structured data (SNOMED CT) for nursing records will, if well designed, give the information for interventions and outcomes that might.
    Revalidation may ensure professionalism in Nursing but it is likely to be a tick box exercise for some with the excessive pressure on training budgets.

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  • Revalidation will do absolutely nothing to confirm the ability of nurses, nor will it, as is claimed, reinforce public confidence
    Completing further paper exercises does not ensure compassion and competency in health care
    This is yet another meaningless tick box exercise for nurses who are already under a great deal of pressure in their profession, including burgeoning administration responsibilities
    Nor will it improve nurse's views of the NMC - in fact the general perspective of colleagues is that the NMC is not a supportive and representative body
    As such it is a complete waste of time and resources and absolutely ridiculous that nurses are expected to jump through more and more hoops, and cost (with unacceptably raised registration fees across the last several years) in order to work within their profession.

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  • As nurses we should have been keeping a portfolio anyway. I believe the NMC are tightening up on the regulations, ensuring that nurses are using the code as part of their everyday work and have a good understanding of it other than for disciplinary measures. As a nurse we should be reflective practioners anyway but are now asked to keep a written record of 5 over 3 years, not exactly alot. Nurses are not great at saying what their skills are or being clear on their role. I think revalidation will help nurses think about this more and have the discussions with the appropriate people.Reflective practice should be a process of ongoing questioning of assumptions and accepted ways of doing things, this will lead to transformation and improvement on an ongoing basis for both the nurse and the area they work in.

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