The Nursing and Midwifery Council must strengthen the way it proposes to verify registrants under its new system of competency checks in order to ensure public protection, a union has warned.
Unite said it wanted to see the new revalidation process improved to avoid “slipping back” to a situation similar to the current system – post registration education and practise (PREP).
Under PREP, nurses declare they have met the required standards and the NMC checks a sample of around 4% of the register.
“The reflective discussion is such a key part of the process - to ignore this makes no sense”
Unite said it wanted the NMC to confirm that under revalidation, as part of its verification checks, it would contact the individual who had held a reflective discussion with the person revalidating.
Additional requirements for revalidation mean nurses and midwives will be required to have a reflective discussion about their practice with another NMC registrant, as well as having all of their portfolio signed off – or confirmed – by a third party.
The confirmer can carry out the reflective discussion if they are registered with the NMC, but if not the person revalidating will have to find someone else.
Revised draft guidance on revalidation released last week by the NMC said it will select a “sample” of nurses for verifying revalidation portfolios and that this will involve contacting their confirmers.
“Our draft guidance states clearly that we will indeed contact all confirmers during the verification process”
But in cases where the confirmer has not carried out the reflective discussion, the NMC said it “may” check with the person who did have this conversation.
Unite lead professional officer Obi Amadi said: “We appreciate that the NMC does not have the resources to check all the registrants’ evidence, but when it does follow-up on a random sample, we want them to definitely check all the evidence with the confirmer or the professional who carried out the registrant’s reflective discussion.”
She added: “The reflective discussion is such a key part of the process – to ignore this makes no sense.
“If this does not happen, we risk slipping back to something akin to the previous system of PREP when registrants were able to self-validate by ticking the appropriate boxes to say they were fit to practise.”
An NMC spokeswoman said: “The NMC is confident that the process of revalidation being considered for introduction is effective, proportionate and achievable.
“We are surprised that Unite has raised this concern as our draft guidance states clearly that we will indeed contact all confirmers during the verification process,” she said.
Nurses and midwives will be required to complete revalidation every three years in order to renew their registration.
The NMC council meets tomorrow to finalise guidance and standards for revalidation and decide whether to launch the new system in April as planned.