The Nursing and Midwifery Council has insisted that it will be ready and able to implement revalidation in April 2016.
The NMC’s ruling council is due to make a final decision in the autumn on when it should begin the new system of checks on nurse competence.
As previously reported by Nursing Times, the process has already slipped by three months and concerns have been raised about different levels of readiness among the four UK countries.
- Launch of revalidation delayed by regulator until spring 2016
- England lagging behind rest of UK on revalidation readiness
Asked by a delegate at a fringe session at the RCN Congress whether the NMC had the capacity to handle the process, chief executive Jackie Smith said: “If you’d have asked me that three years ago, I would have said absolutely not.
“But I wouldn’t be standing here now if I didn’t believe we can,” she told delegates at a fringe event at the conference in Bournemouth.
Ms Smith urged delegates that it would happen and that, therefore, it was the profession’s job to be ready for revalidation but she also highlighted the role of employers in preparing for the new system.
“It’s not just about you as individuals, your employers need to support this,” she added.
In response to this, delegates raised concerns about the fact they did not currently have appraisals or have them very irregularly – one delegate said it had been 10 years since her last appraisal.
“It’s not just about you as individuals, your employers need to support this”
Ms Smith said she believed revalidation would go through roughly in the way the regulator was currently proposing, because “it’s reasonable” to suggest you have an appraisal every year.
She was keen to emphasise that revalidation was “not about performance management”, but said it was a positive opportunity for registrants to reflect on the code of conduct and make sure they were upholding its principles and meeting practice standards.
There were questions about the audit part of the process, which NMC director of continued practice Katerina Kolyva said was also not a tool to get rid of people.
The audit will involve the NMC taking a sample of registrants and checking in detail that they have fulfilled the requirements of revalidation.
She said the audit was now being renamed following feedback from the pilots as “a request for more information”.
There was no commitment to the expected volume of these requests, but Dr Kolyva told delegates that when they went online to revalidate, they would get an automated alert with a request to supply further evidence.
Also speaking at the event, RCN head of policy and international affairs Howard Catton echoed that the process was not about performance management and that the RCN had worked with the NMC to ensure the profession’s voice was heard in shaping the way revalidation was carried out.
Janet Davies, who is soon to take over as chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said that “there will be many people who haven’t got their portfolios ready”.
“They should but they won’t have, and we must support them and help keep it manageable and simple. We must prevent the panic,” she said.
Revalidation, the process replacing PREP by which nurses will have to prove they have met CPD requirements and practice hours, is due to be introduced in April 2016, pending council approval this autumn.