A major new system of competency checks for nurses is expected to be approved for launch in April, as the Nursing and Midwifery Council meets today to finalise its plans on revalidation.
The NMC council will be asked to agree to changes to its original plans for the three-yearly revalidation system, following feedback from employers, including organisations that have piloted the new process.
“We have always said the whole purpose of piloting revalidation was to listen to feedback”
Changes will include a possible reduction to the number of continuing professional development hours required for completing revalidation, which will replace post-registration education and practice (PREP).
Draft guidance released at the start of the year stipulated registrants would have to complete a minimum of 40 hours of CPD in the three years prior to registration renewal.
But the NMC council will now be recommended to cut it to 35 hours, bringing it into line with the current PREP system.
Independent analysis of the pilots and other organisations’ preparation suggested the highest one-off cost for revalidation was expected to be from providing CPD support. However, the NMC said organisations had questioned the evidence supporting an extra 40 hours.
NMC chief executive and registrar Jackie Smith told Nursing Times: “That’s a fair challenge. We have always said the whole purpose of piloting revalidation was to listen to feedback.”
The revised draft guidance for revalidation, released last week, confirmed registrants will still have to complete at least 450 hours of practice, compile five pieces of practice-related feedback and prepare five written reflective accounts relating to the code of conduct.
A reflective discussion with another registrant is also required, as is a health and character declaration and evidence of indemnity insurance. In addition, registrants must have all of the revalidation requirements “confirmed” and signed off by a third party, who is preferably their line manager but does not have to be an NMC registrant.
The updated draft guidance includes additional information on the verification of portfolios by the NMC and how nurses awaiting fitness to practise procedures will still be able to revalidate.
Evaluation of the pilot sites found some organisations had noted that under PREP a “very limited” number of portfolios were requested by the NMC for review.
They called for a “more visible and extensive” process for checking revalidation portfolios to avoid it becoming a “tick box exercise”.
NMC council papers confirmed registrants would be selected “at random” for verification, but taking into account those nurses and midwives who were more “at risk”, which it defined as people who do not have an NMC registrant line manager or those who do not have a regular appraisal.
Other findings from the evaluation included that 6% of registrants at the pilot sites failed to complete revalidation.
A survey found most were unable to finish the process because they did not have all of the required evidence. Others cited a lack of time, but the NMC said registrants would normally have three years to meet the requirements.
Meanwhile, the NMC has proposed new standards for readmission to the register to stop people from taking advantage of a loophole that enabled them to dodge revalidation by re-joining the register within six months of their registration expiring.
In papers to be discussed on 8 October, the regulator said the rule would “deter any registrants from seeking to avoid the revalidation requirements by lapsing their registration and then immediately seeking readmission”.
- Nursing Times will report the outcome of the NMC’s discussion later today and responses to it. Follow @nic_merrifield on Twitter throughout the morning for live updates from the council meeting.