Concerned about the new revalidation process? We’ve tackled some of the most common concerns, as well as the myths and misconceptions, to put your mind at ease.
1. ‘I’m worried my writing skills aren’t good enough to complete the reflection piece’
Many nurses worry about the reflection piece of revalidation, but you don’t need formal or academic writing skills. Instead, this is your opportunity to share something more personal.
Julie Hamilton, head of nursing for revalidation, regulation and education at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, told the Nursing Times: ‘Once my staff began to do it, what came across was how positive an experience it was. It made them think about their practice and how much they’d developed, and it allowed them to showcase what they’d learnt in the past three years.’
You will need to record each piece of reflective writing on the NMC’s approved template, which you can download from the NMC website. Each piece should refer to an instance of CPD and/or a piece of practice-related feedback you have received and/or an event or experience in your own professional practice and how it relates to the NMC Code.
If you find putting things into words difficult, try working with a colleague and take it in turns to talk through your experiences. Having someone ask you questions can help tease out information and clarify your thoughts.
2. ‘Do I need to save and submit my portfolio electronically?’
You will need to log into your NMC account online to complete the application process, but you can keep your revalidation portfolio evidence in paper format if you prefer. All of the NMC’s forms and templates can be printed out and completed by hand.
There’s no requirement to submit your actual portfolio to the NMC. Instead, you will make a series of declarations to say that you have met each of the requirements. You will, however, need to take your revalidation portfolio along to your confirmation discussion.
The NMC website has a handy checklist of things you will need in your portfolio – and it’s a good idea to read through this a few days before you attend the meeting.
3. ‘What if I don’t deliver hands-on care, do I still need to revalidate?’
In order to revalidate, you must have practised for a minimum number of hours over the three-year period since your registration was last renewed or you joined the register. For nurses and midwives, this is 450 hours over three years (or 900 hours if you have a dual registration).
You don’t need to have provided hands-on clinical care, however. The requirement is for the hours to be within your scope of practice. For those working in research, policy, education or management, this will mean non-clinical practice. All of these roles ultimately contribute to provision of patient care and map against the four broad areas of the NMC Code.
4. ‘Will I revalidate on the last day of the month?’
You need to submit your revalidation application on the first day of the month in which your registration expires. For example, if your renewal date is 31 May, your revalidation application deadline will be 1 May.
It’s a good idea to use NMC Online to manage your registration. You can set up a free account and the NMC will notify you 60 days before your application for revalidation is due. You then have 60 days to go into the site and submit your application.
5. ‘I’m too busy to think about it now – I’ll do it the week before’
Even if your revalidation date is months away, you need to start preparing now.
You are required to submit five pieces of practice-related feedback in order to revalidate – so it’s important to keep a record of feedback if you aren’t already doing so. You’ll also need to submit five written reflections, which should look back on your practice to highlight what you’ve learnt and identify possible improvements. In addition, you need to keep evidence of training or courses you have completed in the last three years.
Gathering feedback, keeping a reflection diary, and recording evidence as you go will make completing your portfolio that much easier – so don’t leave it until the last minute.
6. ‘Can I use my practice as a midwife to revalidate as a nurse?’
Midwifery and nursing are two distinct professions. If you are a dual registrant who has been practising solely as a nurse for the past three years, you will specify nursing as your scope of practice when you send your application to the NMC. You cannot use tasks undertaken as part of your nursing practice (for example, examining women) to revalidate as a midwife.
If you’ve been practising as both a nurse and midwife since your last renewal, you must undertake a minimum of 450 hours of practice in both roles (900 in total). You will need to record and provide separate evidence for each. However, dual registrants only have to obtain five pieces of practice-related feedback and write five reflective accounts, not ten.
7. ‘I didn’t have an appraisal so I can’t revalidate’
The NMC strongly recommends that your confirmation discussion takes place during your appraisal – but if you haven’t had an appraisal you can still revalidate.
If you’ve been unable to arrange an appraisal in advance of your revalidation date, you can still renew your registration by meeting the revalidation requirements. Under these circumstances, you will need to arrange your reflective and confirmation discussions with an appropriate person as soon as possible.