The new system for checking nurse’s competencies every three years is to be launched several months later than planned in order to provide more preparation time for the first wave of nurses going through the process.
Revalidation was originally due to come into effect from 31 December 2015, but the Nursing and Midwifery Council has confirmed that the first people to use the system will now be nurses due to renew their registration in April 2016.
The change in date has not been widely announced by the regulator. Instead, Nursing Times discovered it on the NMC’s website contained within a section providing information for registrants on the new system.
It states: “We are proposing that the first nurses and midwives to revalidate will be those with a renewal date in April 2016.”
“It’s important that the first people to revalidate have enough time to prepare”
Explaining the change in timetable, an NMC spokesman said: “Because it’s important that the first people to revalidate have enough time to prepare, the first people revalidating will do so in April.
“The most important milestone for nurses and midwives will be when the NMC council decides our final standards and guidance in October,” she told Nursing Times.
The Royal College of Nursing’s head of policy Howard Catton said it was “helpful” for nurses to have the revalidation launch delayed as this meant they would now have six months to prepare following the release of the final guidance.
He warned the timetable for introducing revalidation could be pushed pack even further, due to issues that could arise from the pilots and different parts of the UK being ready to introduce the system at different times.
Mr Catton said that following the election next month he expected the incoming health secretary would also want to review the revalidation process to ensure it was “proportionate, affordable and doesn’t have any unintended consequences,” which may also result in the launch date being further delayed.
“The priority must be to get the model right. If that means the timetable has to change again, then the timetable should change. The timetable should be the servant of the model rather than the other way round,” he said.
The NMC released its draft guidance and standards for revalidation in January, which are currently being used by a series of organisations that are piloting the new system.
Revalidation replaces the current process of post registration education and practice (PREP), and includes additional requirements for registration renewal.
Nurses and midwives will from now have to gain feedback on their practice, reflect upon the code of conduct, and obtain confirmation from a third party that they have met all requirements.
NMC chief executive Jackie Smith said earlier this year that revalidation would raise the standards of the profession.
She said it was not about “catching bad people,” but that it would ensure “individuals [are] taking responsibility as professionals”.
The pilot organisations – including employers, a school of nursing and a trade union – are testing the system now and following an evaluation this summer, final guidance and standards for revalidation will be agreed in October.