The implementation of a new system of checks on nurses, called revalidation, will raise standards in the profession, the chief executive of the Nursing and Midwifery Council has claimed.
In an interview following the publication of provisional revalidation requirements for nurses, NMC chief Jackie Smith said the regulator had to be “realistic” over what the new system would deliver when it is launched later this year.
Ms Smith said it was crucial individual nurses took responsibility for meeting the new standards, adding that “employers were vital” to its success.
“It is not about catching bad people – it is about raising standards and about individuals owning this and taking responsibility as professionals”
She said the NMC’s existing post-registration education and practice system, known as PREP, which requires nurses to keep a portfolio of their learning, was “not fit for purpose”.
“None of the nurses I have talked to in the last 18 months can say the NMC ever asked for their PREP,” she added.
Ms Smith said it was important the NMC brought in a system of “checks and balances”, but added: “We need something that does not become bureaucratic and that adds value.”
She stressed the process was not about identifying poorly performing nurses. She said: “This is considerably more than we do now, but we have to be realistic about this. It will not work if it is simply seen as a diktat.”
Ms Smith said: “It is not about catching bad people – it is about raising standards and about individuals owning this and taking responsibility as professionals. Most of them will do it and that has to be a good thing.”
Revalidation, a key recommendation from the Francis inquiry into failures of care at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust, is set to come into force on 31 December. It will require nurses to complete a series of checks every three years as part of renewing their NMC registration.
Among the requirements for revalidation, nurses must obtain five pieces of practice related feedback. This can be formal or informal, written or verbal, and the actual feedback will not need to be provided to the NMC.
Nurses must also complete five written reflections on the NMC code and discuss this with another registrant, but copies of the reflective pieces will not need to be submitted to the NMC.
A third party, usually a nurse’s line manager, will need to sign a confirmation that the nurse has met the revalidation standards. The NMC said this did not have to be a nurse and it was not essential they worked with them.
Ms Smith said the NMC would audit a sample of revalidation renewals but could not yet say how large that sample would be.