Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more


'Reflecting on care is a great way to improve it'


Chief nursing officer for Northern Ireland Charlotte McArdle pointed out to me last week that 3.5 million reflective accounts would be collected in the first three years of revalidation, and that something should be done with those reflections to share the learning so it can be used to improve the profession – and the care it offers.

I can understand why overworked, under-resourced nurses feel revalidation is just one more tick-box exercise, but there is no alternative to completing it if you want to be a nurse or midwife. And if employers are supportive and colleagues are willing to be robust reflective discussion partners, this could represent a huge opportunity to influence standards of care, because such a huge amount of data and learning will be collected.

Our exclusive survey of over 500 nurses this week (read the story here) reveals that the majority feel ready for revalidation, but their biggest concerns are still around gathering feedback and writing reflections. “Daunting” is the word that has often been used by nurses who have expressed their opinions to the Nursing and Midwifery Council, but those who took part in last year’s pilot or have already gone through the process for real have managed to overcome those fears, and have embraced the benefits of both those aspects of revalidation.

At our recent Revalidation Conference, one of the pilots revealed its nurses were not exactly thrilled at the prospect. However, they soon realised how much they could learn from really thinking about practice-related feedback and the fact that they generally received it without having to ask for it. They also commented on how refreshing it was to share their feedback with colleagues and managers, and therefore how much what they were learning could be used to improve patient care.

If you are feeling daunted, Nursing Times can help. Subscribers have unlimited access to our clinical archive of over 5,000 double-blind peer-reviewed articles and our suite of 17 learning units that will count towards your individual continuing professional development and can be used as the subject of reflective accounts. You also have a personalised learning passport – your online portfolio to store your evidence to download as a PDF.

Continuous learning is the foundation of good clinical practice, and the profession is, or should be, embracing it.


Readers' comments (4)

  • Hereth begins the worry to dwarfing of nursing care in part by roisk adverse polarisation of reflections in fear of NMC punishment. Whilst there is a Damocles sword hanging above every nurse we learn limitations of thought and even nothing from such ideas.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • michael stone

    A recent piecee on BMj was written by a doctor, about her mother's death at Dignitas (the article is subscription - but the rapid responses are always open access):

    It is not all that usual for working doctors to discuss assisted suicide, probably because traditionally 'the medical profession' has been against it.

    When you combine 'many clinicians are very (even 'absurdly') busy, with a reluctance to openly discuss certain issues, there are some problems with 'improving from reflection and discussion'.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Revalidation is not that onerous, we have to do it so we just have to get on with it. I do not work on a ward but I do think that staff should be given time (in work hours) to gather evidence, write reflections etc. Perhaps reflect on the fact that there are not enough nurses, or that we pay the NMC 120 smackers a year for......what?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • To say onerous I don't ignore but misses the point to ignoring the practicality of performance by observation. There is a measure of other issues and this 'just get on with it' comes across as resigned to pesimissim, which is resulting in good experienced staff leaving. Isn't it odd that the government are bringing nurses from abroad at the time of many leaving, pushed I believe by revalidation! It is a disgrace what government are doing. What we need are managers being operationally present to know what is going on. I kid you not managers clinical and mostly non clinical are being employed to push american government and corporate privatisation agendas. At operational level most do not want the present form of revalidation they want good leadership to determine ability. The premise of revalidation based on the Francis report is very limited where many issues were arguably fuelled by managing decisions and thus the better solution is to demand manager time spent on wards at all levels. This approach in my view is arguably subterfuge based on a report and a professor's lack of truer understanding.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.