Nursing and midwifery organisations have warned that registrants must be adequately “prepared” for revalidation and then “supported” through the process, now its introduction has been approved.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council today rubber-stamped guidance on revalidation and agreed that the new system of competency checks would be introduced across the UK in April 2016.
Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, described the decision to go-ahead with revalidation as “good for patients… and also good for nursing staff”.
“This is recognition of the important, highly complex and ever changing nature of the work that nurses do, which is long overdue,” she said.
“It is now important that nurses ensure they are prepared for revalidation. The RCN will be working with the NMC to support nurses going through this new process and it is vital that others, especially employers and governments, do the same,” she added.
Louise Silverton, director of midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “Revalidation is the responsibility of every midwife and we will be looking for employers to facilitate them accessing the professional conversation and confirmation.
“We need midwives to see revalidation as an extension of what they already do,” she said. “The RCM will continue to educate and inform our members.”
“It is now important that nurses ensure they are prepared for revalidation”
Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, noted that the NMC’s decision was “an important one for nurses, midwives and their employers”.
“Feedback from the pilot organisations has shown there is more work to do in reassuring nurses and midwives who are unsure and unclear what is expected of them,” he said.
“It is critical that the preparation work that will now follow before revalidation goes live is focused on engaging with employers to address this,” said Mr Mortimer.
“We are keen to work with the NMC and key partners to ensure that everything possible is done to ensure that the implementation of revalidation goes smoothly,” he added.
Dame Julie Mellor, the parliamentary and health service ombudsman, said the new systems should be viewed positively by registrants.
“Most nurses and midwives work very hard to provide the best possible care for patients,” she said.
“Regular checks to make sure they provide high-quality, compassionate care should not be seen as negative, but an opportunity to address patients’ concerns and improve services for all,” she stated.
“There is more work to do in reassuring nurses and midwives who are unclear what is expected of them”
She added: “Our own casework shows that, too often, patients don’t feel listened to and, as a result, opportunities to improve services are missed.
“I am delighted that patients’ feedback will be captured in this way to the benefit of both patients and NHS staff.”
The RCN’s head of policy Howard Catton told Nursing Times registrants should not “panic” about the requirements.
“Yes, this is a significant change and it’s different [to PREP] but nurses will have some bits of information from PREP that can be used [with revalidation]”, he said.
He noted the additional requirement for some CPD to be participatory did not mean that nurses would have to fit in training days before April.
“If people are assuming they’ve got to do 20 hours of conferences or away days between now and April, that is not the case. There are many ways this can be done, such as through team meetings,” he said.
He said the final model for revalidation was a “good” one that worked for all settings but stressed the importance of it being evaluated.
More work was also needed to raise awareness among nurses in social care settings or those who are lone workers, he added.
“Revalidation is going to be another part of that difficulty, another obstacle”
The National Care Forum, which represents not for profit providers of social care, echoed his concerns about a lack of awareness among registrants working in nursing homes.
Its executive director Des Kelly said the organisation would have preferred the launch of revalidation to have been delayed to develop the model further, noting that its introduction would likely exacerbate the nurse recruitment and retention crisis in the sector.
“We know nurses are the largest [professional] group in terms of turnover with our sector – around 30% which is worrying. Revalidation is going to be another part of that difficulty, another obstacle,” he said.
He suggested revalidation would increase competition for nursing staff between care homes and NHS organisations even further, noting the latter would be likely to have more resources to support learning and other revalidation requirements.
Meanwhile, Unite’s lead professional officer Obi Amadi said that while the union was pleased revalidation will launch in April, it was still concerned about the way the NMC will check some registrants’ revalidation portfolios.
“Those who will be the first to complete the process have only got six months to prepare”
Ms Amadi said the NMC was yet to clarify whether this verification process would include asking for evidence from the person who has conducted the reflective discussion about the person’s practice, as opposed to just further information about the discussion.
She also noted that thousands of nurses were still yet to sign up to the NMC’s online system for revalidation and that this could include many due to renew their registration in April.
“Those who will be the first to complete the process have only got six months to prepare,” she noted.
“These registrants need to start now, by spending some time familiarising themselves with the NMC guidance and registering online,” she said.