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Nurse revalidation in GP practices

Nearly 16,000 nurses and midwives, including many practice nurses, will be the first to revalidate in April this year. Medeconomics looks at what the system involves.

Nurses will be expected to reflect on their CPD and practice-related feedback (Picture: Science Photo Library/Jim Varney)
Nurses will be expected to reflect on their CPD and practice-related feedback (Picture: Science Photo Library/Jim Varney)

The first nurses to go through the revalidation process are expected to be those with an NMC renewal date in April 2016. Practices should understand their responsibilities as employers with regards to revalidation and nurses should be starting to develop their revalidation portfolio.

Nurse revalidation is similar to GP revalidation. The aim is to evidence that nurses are practising safely and effectively. Some of the standards are the same as the existing PREP standards and so nurses will already be able to evidence these.

Nurse revalidation themes

The key themes that nurse revalidation seeks to address are:

  • Prioritise people – nurses should actively seek and reflect on any direct feedback from patients, carers and colleagues
  • Practice effectively – nurses should reflect on professional development, identify areas for improvement and undertake professional development
  • Preserve safety – nurses should practise within their competency and addressing gaps in knowledge
  • Promote professionalism and trust – nurses should provide feedback and helping other NMC colleagues reflect on their professional development and also be accountable for their own professional development and revalidation

Employer responsibilities

As employers, practices need to ensure that systems and processes are in place to check that staff are registered with the relevant professional body. They must only use a protected professional title where their qualifications and registration allows them to do so.

Practices must also ensure that staff are aware of and adhere to any codes of professional conduct that apply to them.

Nurse responsibilities

Nurses will have to apply for revalidation and they will need to do this 30 days before their renewal with the NMC is due to ensure adequate time for the application to be processed. Nurses can find details of their renewal date on their NMC Online account.

The NMC has said it will notify nurses at least 60 days before their application for revalidation is due. The nurse will then have 60 days to log into NMC Online and complete the revalidation application form.

As part of their revalidation nurses need to keep records of the number of hours they work, the minimum number of hours is 450 over three years.

They must undertake and keep records of their CPD – the minimum is 40 hours over three years, 20 of which must be through participatory learning.

Like GPs, nurses need feedback about their practice. For revalidation they should have five pieces of feedback from patients, carers and colleagues and use this to reflect on and improve their practice. Written notes of these reflection should be kept.

Nurses are expected to reflect on the NMC Code, their CPD and practice-related feedback then discuss these with another NMC registrant. The other NMC registrant should sign a form recording their name, NMC Pin, email, professional address and the date they had the discussion.

At the time of revalidation, nurses will be required to provide a health and character declaration, declaration of any criminal offence and details that they have appropriate cover under an indemnity arrangement – whether through employer, professional body or private insurance arrangement.

Finally, the nurse needs to demonstrate to a third party that they have met the revalidation requirements. This can form part of the nurse’s annual appraisal. The NMC recommends that, where possible, the third party is the nurse’s line manager. The third party does not have to be an NMC registered nurse or midwife.

Each year, the NMC will ask a sample of nurses to provide further information to verify the declarations they have made.

  • More detail about these requirements can be found on the NMC website

Nurse revalidation checklist for practices

  • Do you know your practice nurses’ and nurse practitioners’ NMC renewal dates?
  • Are all your nurses registered for NMC Online?
  • Are there any gaps in your nurses’ CPD if their revalidation is imminent?
  • Can you help them start to collect third-party feedback? (For example compliments, complaints, results of significant events analysis, Friends and Family Test feedback etc)
  • Do they need their annual appraisal earlier to ensure they are ready for revalidation?
  • Are they confident at undertaking reflective practice?
  • Do you need to access another NMC registrant from a different practice? (This will be the case if you only have one practice nurse, is there a local practice you could buddy with?)
  • Put in place plans for all of your nurses to receive their third party confirmation as part of their annual appraisal, or establish some other system for confirmation to take place.

Further information

Fionnuala O'Donnell is a practice manager in Ealing, West London, and a CCG board member.

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