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Revalidation 5: The benefits of keeping a portfolio

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Your confirmer will use your portfolio to verify the declarations you make as part of the revalidation process, so maintaining it can help make the process less stressful

Citation: Kolyva K (2015) Revalidation 5: The benefits of keeping a portfolio. Nursing Times; 111: 46, 24.

Author: Katerina Kolyva is director of continued practice, Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Introduction

One of the most important parts of the revalidation process is the recommendation that every nurse and midwife maintains a portfolio. The portfolio is the place to save all of the evidence you accrue that proves you meet the revalidation requirements.

Storing information

Contrary to what many people think, there is no requirement for the portfolio to be online or use an e-portfolio. However, some nurses and midwives prefer the traditional approach, storing hard copies of meeting notes, CPD certifications and personal reflections in a folder.

You should keep whatever type of portfolio that works best for you, as keeping a portfolio will prove incredibly helpful when the time comes to revalidate. But be aware that some elements of revalidation are required to be stored in paper form: the reflective discussion form and the form completed by your confirmer.

The NMC recommends that you keep your portfolio until after your next revalidation, in other words, for a full three-year cycle (NMC, 2015). By way of example, if you revalidate in May 2016, we suggest that you should keep your portfolio until after you have revalidated again in May 2019. It is important that you do this because it shows how you have developed professionally from one period of renewal to the next. It also helps to ensure that your portfolio is used as a continuous tool for documenting your development.

The NMC expects all records to be kept in English. The exception is for Welsh-speaking registrants – we will make adjustments for those nurses or midwives who choose to train and practise in Welsh, and so therefore keep their portfolio in Welsh too.

Benefits of a portfolio

Keeping a portfolio is important. First, it means that when you are preparing to go through the revalidation process, you will have easy access to all the evidence you need that will ensure you meet all the requirements. This process can be compared with someone who runs their own business and is compiling their annual tax return, and needs to have all the details to hand. Similarly, maintaining your portfolio will ensure that revalidation is a simple and straightforward step.

The portfolio will also help you identify gaps in your evidence before your revalidation date. This ensures you have plenty of time to attend an extra course, gather practice-related feedback, prepare a reflective account or hold the reflective discussion with a manager or a colleague.

Confidentiality

It is useful to remember that your portfolio is about you. You must not record any information that might identify an individual, whether that person is alive or deceased. This means that all information must be recorded in a way that no patient, service user, colleague or other individual can be identified from the contents of the portfolio. The NMC’s How to revalidate guidance (NMC, 2015) includes useful information on how to ensure you do not identify someone else.

Confirmation

The portfolio is important because it is what your confirmer will use to verify the declarations you make as part of the revalidation process. Using a portfolio helps to encourage a systematic approach to revalidation. This will make the process easier, less stressful and more time-efficient when your revalidation date is  due.

Box 1. Portfolio checklist (NMC, 2015)

  • Continuing professional development hours (20 must be participatory)
  • Five pieces of practice-related feedback
  • Five written reflective accounts
  • Reflective discussion (store as a paper copy only)
  • Record of practice hours
  • Professional indemnity
  • Confirmation (store as a paper copy only)

All information must be recorded in a way that no patient, service user, colleague or other individual can be identified

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