Employers and social care settings are to be targeted more closely in the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s campaign to drive awareness around revalidation.
It follows evidence that there is less understanding of the new system of nurse competency checks in these areas.
NMC director of continued practice Katerina Kolyva said there would be a move away from focusing only on individual registrants in order to improve awareness more widely about revalidation, which nurses will have to undergo every three years in order to remain on the register.
“There is work we can do with each of the chief nursing officers in the four countries to use their connections with employer organisations”
Ms Kolyva explained the new focus yesterday, while presenting early findings from the 19 sites piloting revalidation to the NMC’s council at its latest meeting.
She said: “[The NMC will be] shifting from just focussing on the registrants and preparing them for revalidation – which we will continue to do and it is our duty to do as their regulator… to also working with employers and others, particularly in the areas and settings where we’ve heard that revalidation awareness is lower – so in social care.”
NMC chief executive and registrar Jackie Smith later told Nursing Times that the regulator had acknowledged there was “a bit of a gap” in employer understanding of revalidation and the support they could be providing.
“There’s work that we can do and want to do, with NHS Employers particularly, but there is also work we can do with each of the chief nursing officers in the four countries to use their connections with employer organisations,” she said.
The NMC recently released guidance for employers about revalidation, which stated they were not obliged to give specific support. But it suggested different levels of assistance that could be provided, either the “minimum” or that which could be “reasonably expected”.
When asked how the NMC could ensure employers offered support to nurses to revalidate, Ms Smith said: “We can’t ensure that but what we can do – and what we have been doing – is working with the system regulators.
“So with the Care Quality Commission in England, for example, we are talking to them about the social care settings and how they can help us get an understanding of readiness, and also the individual registrants that they have in those organisations and how they are able to revalidate.”
However, she added that it was the responsibility of the revalidation programme boards – set up in each UK country and led by their CNOs – to ensure all registrants, including those working in social care, were prepared for revalidation.
“Each of the four countries has got to tell us that they have assurance around readiness,” she said.
The NMC council will make a final decision in October on whether revalidation is ready to be introduced from April 2016, as planned.