Feedback from the revalidation pilots showed the Nursing and Midwifery Council needs to simplify its guidance for nurses and midwives and raise awareness of revalidation within primary care, social care and the independent sector.
The major new system of checks for nurses has received largely positive feedback from those piloting it, but “there is still work to do” to reduce confusion in some areas, according to the chief executive of the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Early results from an independent evaluation of the new revalidation system suggested the process was “achievable” for nurses and midwives, but that registrants wanted clearer guidance on how the future model of checks would work in practice.
“What’s being said is that revalidation is achievable, desirable, and realistic”
In particular, nurses who trialled the system said more information was needed on the role of the confirmer – the person who will sign off the documentation showing that a registrant has met all the requirements to be revalidated and, therefore, can continue to practice for a further three years.
“Individuals have fed back that they enjoyed it, it’s achievable, it’s realistic, and they can see the value added from the professional conversation on practice,” said NMC chief executive and registrar Jackie Smith.
“But there are clearly some actions for the NMC that need to be addressed, which is clarifying precisely what the model is and being absolutely clear about the guidance supporting revalidation,” she told Nursing Times.
“The other issue of course is the status of the confirmer and what they are actually doing,” Ms Smith said.
The NMC’s official early findings follow an investigation by Nursing Times on the experiences of those involved in the pilots and a recent report on the subject by the Royal College of Nursing.
Both identified a range of issues that needed to be resolved – some also identified by the research for the NMC – such as the need for more clarity in guidelines and on the role of the confirmer, and on how the system would work for some groups of nurse outside of traditional hospital settings.
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According to NMC council papers due to be considered at a meeting next week, the independent research by Ipsos Mori and KPMG found there was a “spectrum of support” across the 2,100 nurses and midwives who trialled the proposed model.
Many were pleased with the introduction of revalidation, while a small number “retained a degree of scepticism that revalidation will fully deliver its intended aims”, said the papers.
Revalidation – which will replace PREP next year – includes new requirements such as confirmation, reflection on the code of conduct and obtaining feedback.
These were also “experienced positively by many” in the pilots, according to the NMC council papers. However, they added, that on many occasions the new requirements were interpreted differently by registrants.
The pilot evaluation across 19 organisations also showed awareness of revalidation may be more limited among registrants in non-NHS or small organisations, with social care requiring particular attention.
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In response, the NMC said it would redraft guidance to simplify the language and reduce varied interpretations, and also set up specific campaigns to raise awareness in primary care, social care and the independent sector.
Meanwhile, the cost to pilot organisations was analysed. But because estimates “vary widely”, the NMC said there was no clear indication of how much financial investment was required for revalidation.
However, it noted that among the pilot organisations, the highest reported areas of cost were supporting continuing professional development, preparing for and managing revalidation and feedback, reflection and professional development.
Full findings from the evaluation of the pilots will be published in September.
In October, the NMC council will make its final decision on whether revalidation can be launched as planned in April 2016.