Revamped draft guidelines on revalidation have been released, which include additional information about how the Nursing and Midwifery Council will verify registrants’ portfolios of evidence.
The draft guidance – expected to be approved at an NMC council meeting next week – has been revised following feedback from employers, including organisations that have piloted the new system of competency checks.
It includes new sections around the verification of portfolios by the NMC and how nurses awaiting fitness to practise procedures will still able to revalidate.
Mandatory forms for recording some elements of revalidation – such as the reflective discussion with another NMC registrant – have also been added to the guidance.
Revalidation requirements have largely remained the same as those in the initial draft guidance – apart from a proposed reduction in the number of continuing professional development hours from 40 to 35, as reported by Nursing Times earlier this week.
- NMC to consider reducing CPD requirement for revalidation
- Revalidation likely to take nurses much longer than PREP
- ‘Wide variation’ in predicted cost of new competency checks
As per the initial draft guidance, registrants will still have to obtain five pieces of practice-related feedback, compile five written reflections, have a reflective discussion and also be “signed off” – preferably by a line manager who confirms they have met all requirements.
An evaluation of the pilot sites found some organisations had noted that under the current PREP system – which will be replaced by revalidation – a “very limited” number of portfolios were requested by the NMC for review.
They said they wanted the NMC to have “a more visible and extensive” process for checking revalidation portfolios. If not, the audit process risked becoming a “tick box exercise”, they warned.
“Some stakeholders indicated that it would be important to understand how the NMC planned to implement the requests for further information to ensure the process will be more robust than PREP,” said independent audit firm KPMG in its evaluation report on the pilots.
“This includes clarity on the number of registrants from whom more information will be requested and [the NMC’s] risk-based approach to selecting them,” it added.
In the new draft guidance published today, the NMC stated that it will let registrants’ know within 24 hours of them submitting their revalidation documentation whether they have been selected for verification.
The regulator said the verification process would take up to three months to complete, but that registrants would be able to continue to practise during that time.
It said it will select a “sample” of nurses and midwives every year to provide further information or evidence to verify their application.
NMC council papers also published today confirm that registrants will be selected “at random” for verification, but taking into account those nurses and midwives who are more “at risk”.
It defined those “at risk” as people who do not have an NMC registrant line manager or those who do not have a regular appraisal, because it may indicate either professional isolation or lack of organisational infrastructure.
“The confirmation stage of revalidation does not involve making a judgment as to whether a nurse or midwife is fit to practise”
Meanwhile, the revised draft guidance stated that if a registrant was subject to fitness to practise procedures, they will still be able to revalidate and renew their registration if they meet the requirements.
Previous feedback from the pilots indicated there was some confusion around whether the revalidation process should be suspended until fitness to practise proceedings had concluded.
“Revalidation does not create a new way of raising such a fitness to practise concern about a nurse or a midwife, and the confirmation stage of revalidation does not involve making a judgment as to whether a nurse or midwife is fit to practise,” the guidance stated.
The NMC council will meet next week to decide whether to approve the revised guidance, and to finalise the launch date of revalidation – expected to be April.