A consultation covering the revalidation process for nurses and amendments to the Code (a set of professional standards for nurses and midwives) was launched by the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) on the 6 January 2014. The consultation suggests that nurses and midwives will have to confirm to the NMC every three years that they remain fit to practise.
Demonstrating fitness to practise will be more than a tick box exercise. Nurses and midwives will be required to reflect on feedback gathered from patients, service users, carers and colleagues to improve the services they provide. This means that they will be required to continually gather evidence for their revalidation based on criteria defined in the revised Code and standards. Guidance on revalidation will also be developed for nurses and midwives.
Every nurse and midwife will be required to confirm that they remain fit to practise, have met the relevant requirements for practice and continued professional development, have sought feedback and reflected on their practice and have sought and received third party confirmation that they are fit to practice. Each nurse and midwife will need to take ownership of their revalidation. If a nurse or midwife fails to revalidate every three years they will lapse from the register.
Revalidation is intended to:
- Improve public protection and increase public confidence in nurses and midwives.
- Ensure the NMC standards continue to be met by nurses and midwives.
- Make nurses and midwives accountable for demonstrating their continued fitness to practise.
- Promote a culture of professionalism and accountability.
Dr Katerina Kolyva, Director of Continued Practice, stated “Revalidation is a robust way to ensure that nurses and midwives keep their knowledge and skills up to date throughout their career. The public has an important role to play in shaping revalidation for the nurses and midwives who care for them and their families. We hope that revalidation will help the public feel confident that the people who care for them have demonstrated that their practice meets the professional standards we set on a continuous basis.”
The Chief Executive of the NMC, Jackie Smith, said “we do a lot at the beginning of [student careers] to make sure they show the right values and skills. We do a lot of stuff at the end when they don’t adhere to the code. At the moment there’s not a lot that goes on between that, which is why it’s an important part of public protection to demonstrate that they are fit to practice.”
The consultation runs until 31 March 2014 and is the first of a two part consultation, with the second part to follow in spring 2014.