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Revalidation and its role in supporting nurses


This year heralds a new system for nurses, the process of revalidation. Liz Charalambous discusses how the nursing profession is reacting and what revalidation has to offer

It allows us to demonstrate that we have kept up to date with education and practice, engaged with others, received feedback, and it will serve to restore public faith in the profession.

It also allows us to reflect on, and live up to, the new code of conduct.

I was initially daunted by the prospect of revalidation but now have a plan and feel more confident after navigating the excellent resources on the NMC website.

Opinions are polarised. Some see it as an intelligent idea to further the profession, whereas others see it as another meaningless, bureaucratic exercise.

”Some see it as another hoop to jump through and have decided on early retirement”

It appears that some nurses have decided ‘enough is enough’ and their time is far too precious to ‘waste’ on their day off completing forms and reflecting on practice, let alone attending study days or undertaking online learning.Some see it as another hoop to jump through and have decided on early retirement.

There are others who say such attitudes are unwarranted and they should indeed just leave and save the profession from becoming a crowd of disenchanted moaners.

”How did these nurses become so disillusioned?”

But how did these nurses become so disillusioned? Whenever I meet a nurse who seems completely burnt out and totally uninspired by their role, complaining with such bitterly resentful rhetoric about the job, I wonder what this person was like years ago when they entered the profession?

I can’t remember ever meeting a new entrant to our profession who was not in awe of the role and job we do; the altruistic fresh young minds of the newly appointed are to be applauded and welcomed.

Yet, fast forward in time and we see nurses who appear to have neglected themselves both physically and psychologically. Possibly overweight, depressed, at the point of physical, mental and nervous exhaustion, their social and personal lives often shot to pieces in a lifetimes attempt at juggling child care, older parent care, financial worries and their own personal life choices.

”Nursing is a titanic behemoth that demands prioritisation”

A blame culture is hardly helpful.

Nursing is a titanic behemoth that demands prioritisation. It can be difficult to decide on the master or slave relationship we have with our role when we very often have to manage the expectations and demands of others. Nursing is a seductive, all-consuming job, engulfing personal lives to the extent that it eradicates all else.

Combine this with organisations experiencing tremendous pressure, and I begin to wonder how much more can nurses take?

Nurses need the support and guidance of peers and seniors at local and wider level to support those about to revalidate.

Revalidation is a good thing. It allows nurses to reflect on their practice, demonstrate that they have developed their intellect by taking on further study and kept up to date in their practice.

However, I wonder how many will decide that enough is enough and this is the last straw that will break their back? I am optimistic that with appropriate support it will benefit the profession as well as individuals.

Whatever nurses think about revalidation, it looks as though it is here to stay. Have you started your revalidation journey yet?

Liz Charalambous is a staff nurse and PhD. student at the University of Nottingham


Revalidation Conference

Nursing Times is holding its second revalidation conference this March in Manchester to help nurses and their employers prepare. Find out more here.


Readers' comments (10)

  • Liz it is not that it sign a good idea it is the matter by which is being introduced that is not the best. You make assumptions about disillusionment and negative connotations about anyone who disagrees and I don't believe that is the case. You don't have to be burn out or had enough to this it is just simply a load of nonsense. There are many deficits in this approach and I can list over ten easily. It is certainly about intelligent understanding and to play or suggest disagreement is devoid of intelligence is itself negative. I'm optimistic that a better way will be found not based on subjective tosh but intelligent real time know how. But don't think it is simply nurses who disagree look to your own university and many others and tell me a paraversity doesn't exist? Wake up Liz because if there is a suggestion it is an intelligent approach I would suggest the pro group need to not be so easily led by smoke screens. I'm optimistic but not just because you say I'm not. If I have to I will happily write a counter blog.

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  • Nursing Times

    Hi Anonymous 10:33,

    Although we believe Liz's blog to be balanced, it is an opinion and we completely understand that some of our readers have differing views of the pros and cons of revalidation.

    You mention writing a blog explaining your own opinions. We would be really interested to read this particularly your points about the way revalidation is being introduced. If you would like to send over a blog to be considered for this section please email

    Nursing Times

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  • Liz Charalambous

    Thank you anonymous 10:33 for your comment. I would like to echo Fran's comment above that this is entirely my own viewpoint and is based on personal conversations between myself and others in the profession and is therefore purely anecdotal.

    I wrote this piece in an attempt to continue to raise awareness of revalidation among the nursing profession and promote discussion.

    As I detailed in my piece, I was initially recalcitrant about starting the process. But having navigated the NMC website, and finding the process easy to access and engage with, I wanted to reassure my colleagues that it is a painless process and quite similar in some respects to PREP.

    I feel quite fortunate that the organisations in which I work are forward thinking and proactive in implementing new ideas. My Trust has good leadership and strategies in place to support nurses in their revalidation journey. I realise, however, that this may not be the case in other areas. My personal opinion is that we need to create an open dialogue so nurses can engage and pose questions about the process.

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  • Nursing Times the question of balance is irrelevant as that was not the direction of the response I gave and you also make comment that can be read as assuming I stated Liz comments were more than opnion. An alternative approach to revalidation from its present form doesn't mean it is automatically a simplistic opposing con approach that could be read as a traditional nursing establishment approach of pigeon holing people that don't agree - very last century in my opinion

    Anyway Liz thank you for the clarrification. I would suggest making certain assoications to individuals alleged negativity or circumstance may say more (by same arguement) about effect of mass nursing establishment hostile denial to other views, detrimental conditions and environment, rather than simply assessing personal behviour associated with revalidation attitude. The opinion of negativity can often be misplaced on the individual rather than wider cirucumstance, but also as a tool of 'false polarisation' to conitations of attitude - in a way an opinion on peoples attitude or behaviour can be a cheap shot to ignore deeper truths that could by results further dictate revalidation as a behavioural management assessment tool.

    I also believe a false premise is being sold in that the nursing establishment are putting it all other views down to it being perceived as a lengthy difficult process. To be honest I'm not worried by process but I do believe it is deeply flawed (will explain later if you ask). So Liz could we assume it's more about process then sense?

    Real time observations by witness are always going to be better then this post subjective approach, that is clear to me. This approach will do no good for whistleblowing, it is that obvious without having to explain it. A subjective approach in the hands of management process tool heads is not a good thing. I suggest the only result is promoting a false premise of quality based on nursing that will be all to ready to please - not simply just out of fear but also because as a whole we are a benevolent lot.

    I am optimistic and I believe the government will start to realise it will have to change track April and post that time, because if it doesn't real harm looks like it going to be done to the profession. Revalidation threatens to comprimise good nurses in a time of great resource problems, but also what looks like a very unrealistic professional body (I might be wrong) that in an opinion is having difficulty in understanding the profession is being comprimised as a group. There is a better way and it involves real time observation at a floor level, which reflects skill, competency, techniques, ability and tactit experience.

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  • After a slow start i am quite enjoying learning material. Its all to do with habit really.
    If more organisations help de-mystify the requirements it should be achievable.
    The are a lot of examples of reflective practise on the web as well.
    Now to tackle the confirmer and peer reflection

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  • Noticing the denial factor when someone has a different point of view to unthinking conformity - it's like people with fingers in their ears telling you the same hypnotic reasons. Saying it's easy or straight forward is fine but to do so without debate to valid points is called trying to turn the radio channel - it's a form of propaganda - you see it on social media all the time - good tactic but weak on debate. People inform yourselves not just to process but thinking. Robotic answers about process could be a form of insult to perfectly intelligent nurses.

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  • Lol, you're so right it's like something out of the film Stepford Wifes film. They say the same thing over and over again, smiling innanely and if you don't like it they'll keep going until your one of them. It goes something like this -"hello, in found it easy to, hello I found it easy to, hello I found it easy to'. Talk about tyranny with a smile lol.

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  • "Some see it as another hoop to jump through and have decided on early retirement”

    I would argue that anyone thinking the 3 yearly revalidation is such a major 'hoop' to jump through that they have decided on early retirement - probably are ready to do just that.

    I have started to use the excellent NMC Revalidation guidelines and templates that are free for us to download to facilitate revalidation. The amount of work required is very modest if spread over a 3 year period. Furthermore, the feedback, validation and confirming all doable during appraisals.
    I would think there are very much more testing challenges for us (and hoops to jump through) than revalidation.

    I would probably disagree with the assertion that revalidation will 'restore public faith in the nursing profession'. I am not altogether sure the general public are largely acquainted with NMC revalidation.
    Public faith in us can be maintained by how we act towards patients in our care.

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  • JS your not answering the other issues put forward, pure rhetoric of process devoids it self of intellect of concerns to input issues. The issues mentioned other than process stand. Stop the stepford wife rhetoric no one's buying it. To say people should retire is bang out of order - that is potentially discriminatory to older persons. We need real time observation not your smoke screen pseudo law nonsense based on limitations of the Francis Report. We know it won't work where whistleblowers are getting referred and are innocent. This is going to make it worse. For those proving to be innocent by legal courts post NMC - there are a lot of questions to be answered. Revalidation is seriously morally flawed. It seems to me but a way to prevent nurses from speaking out. JS we don't want it and the NMC doesn't need to be run by lawyers. Where was the democratic forums? - a consultation doesn't cut it, they may have fooled many but I and those adding in number are not fooled.

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  • JS do you think many are convinced it can't be confused with employer contract or demands?

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