The vast majority of community nurses do not know what process is required to complete the new system of competency checks for nurses and midwives due to be introduced next year, according to a survey.
Just 27% of the 1,100 nurses responding to the survey, which was carried out by Unite’s Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association, said they were confident they knew what the revalidation process would involve.
More than two thirds of survey respondents (68%) said they had not been given enough information about revalidation, which is being introduced by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Meanwhile, less than half – 48% – said they believed revalidation would boost public assurance in the profession.
This is despite the NMC’s stated aim of revalidation being to “give greater confidence to the public, employers and fellow professionals that nurses and midwives are up to date with their practice”.
Revalidation is set to replace the current system of post registration education and practice (PREP) and includes additional requirements for registration renewal every three years.
“Some people may feel anxious about the introduction of a new system, and that’s understandable”
Nurses and midwives will have to continue to complete 450 hours of practice and, as well as a minimum amount of 40 hours of continuing professional development.
They will also now have to collect five pieces of feedback from patients and colleagues, and also provide five written reflections relating to the NMC code of conduct, as well as having a third party “confirmer” sign them off.
When asked about their worries around revalidation, more than half of survey respondents said that they were anxious about finding the time to complete the process, and only a third said they were confident their employers would support them to meet the requirements.
Unite lead professional officer Obi Amadi acknowledged extra time would be required for nurses to revalidate and highlighted the need for employers to support registrants.
“Although revalidation is the individual’s responsibility, they need support and the time from their employers for the process to be effective. Employers want staff working to a high standard, so they have to do what is needed to ensure that happens,” she said.
Ms Amadi added: “Change, even when welcomed, still creates a certain level of anxiety and apprehension. This is understandable, but if registrants act now and prepare at a steady pace, the impact will be less.”
She urged community nursing staff to register now with the NMC’s new online system, which will in future allow them to revalidate.
A series of organisations have piloted the revalidation model and results are expected from the NMC over the coming months.
The new system is expected to be finalised in October, with the first set of registrants going the through the process in April 2016.
An NMC spokeswoman said early results from the 19 pilot sites and organisations across the UK indicated people found the process “quite straightforward”.
“Some people may feel anxious about the introduction of a new system, and that’s understandable,” she said.
“We have already started publishing a comprehensive range of materials to support both nurses and midwives, and their employers, through the process,” she added.
The survey was carried out for the union by its in-house journal Community Practitioner.