A number of changes have been made to the new Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) revalidation process, which all occupational health nurses must undertake. Diane Romano-Woodward investigates.
Revalidation will replace the post-registration education and practice (Prep) standards from the end of April 2016 (that is to say, those who renew in April). All nurses and midwives will need to comply, and those who fail to submit a revalidation application will find that their registration automatically expires. An NMC online account is essential for the process and setting this up is a good first step. It will also allow the registrant to determine their renewal expiry date, which is located under the PIN number and annual fee expiry date.
The Association of Occupational Health Nurse Practitioners UK (AOHNP) provided a group of 30 nurses to trial the revalidation pilot. To encourage nurses to accumulate the evidence likely to be required, a 21-day countdown to portfolio was published in Occupational Health in May this year (Romano-Woodward, 2015). The NMC Council ratified the revalidation process on 8 October 2015, but the process includes some changes from the pilot.
What are the changes?
A significant change is that the creation of a separate portfolio for revalidation is now only “strongly suggested”. In practical terms, this means that as long as the evidence can be demonstrated to the person providing “confirmation” it does not actually need to be together in one place, either physically or in an electronic format. Many practitioners will feel that it is convenient to collect the information in one folder, or in one file on a computer storage system.
No special software is required. Other changes are that the requirement for total continuing professional development (CPD) hours remains the same as for the current system, at 35 hours, and that no evidence will need to be uploaded to the NMC website, neither initially nor as a second check. There may be a requirement to type in further information for verification, but the registrant’s own evidence will not be stored for data protection reasons.
Those selected for verification will be chosen at random, but the NMC may take into account those “at risk”, for example people who do not have an NMC registrant line manager or those who do not have a regular appraisal. This is because it may indicate professional isolation or lack of organisational infrastructure (Merrifield, 2015).
There is a 55-page revalidation publication available on the website, along with templates (NMC Revalidation, NMC Guidance and resources).
The registrant will declare that they have, over the preceding three years:
- Met the requirements for practice hours. This is 450 hours or around 65 seven-hour days for a registered nurse. There is no additional requirement for a specialist community public health nurse qualification.
- Collected five pieces of feedback on their practice from a variety of sources. It does not have to be in writing, but it must have been reflected on with regards to the NMC Code.
- Produced five written reflective accounts of feedback, CPD or specific experience or events in practice. These will need to be discussed with another NMC registrant, and this can be done at the confirmation discussion, or individually over the three years prior to revalidating. One must have been done within 12 months of revalidation and the NMC form must be used. It includes space to record brief details of the discussion.
- Collected evidence of 35 hours of CPD, of which 20 hours should be “participatory”. This means “any learning activity in which you personally interacted with other people”. It can be in the same environment, such as study days and conferences, or an online group.
- Received confirmation of the contents from a third party. Ideally this will be another NMC registrant within the same scope of practice, but can be another healthcare professional. Rarely, this will be another professional. There is an Information for Confirmers publication available from the NMC website.
This confirmation conversation should be face to face in an appropriate environment, but could be by video conference, if the evidence (paper or electronic) can be provided to the confirmer. The NMC form must be used to record the confirmer details
There will be a health and character declaration. The registrant must declare if they have been convicted of any criminal offence or issued with a formal caution in the three years prior to the renewal of registration.
With regard to professional indemnity arrangements, the registrant must declare that they have, or will have when practising, appropriate cover under an indemnity arrangement. If indemnity arrangement is provided by membership with a professional body or private insurance arrangement, they will be asked to provide the name of the professional body or provider.
Details of the NMC registrant with whom the reflections were done and also details of the confirmer (name and contact details, including email, address, telephone) will need to be entered on NMC online.
Although these requirements may seem daunting, those who participated in the pilot were positive about their experience and, in reflecting on the Code, the advice is to get started as soon as possible, particularly in reading the documentation about the process and organising the supporting evidence.
Merrifield N (2015). NMC reveals updated draft guidance for revalidation
Romano-Woodward D (2015). Revalidation: 21-day countdown portolio