The NMC finally gave revalidation the green light last week. The Francis report, produced in 2013 in response to the Mid Staffordshire care failings, recommended the introduction of a revalidation process for nurses. However, at the time the government said that this would need to wait until the NMC “turns around its current poor performance”. It seems that day has come – revalidation has been rolled out for NMC registrants and will first bite on those who have a renewal date in April 2016. 

The new system will mean that nurses and midwives will need to revalidate every three years, although the NMC has emphasised that revalidation should be a continual process. 

The requirements which nurse and midwives must meet in order to renew their registration every three years are:

  • 450 practice hours (or 900 for those who are revalidating as both a nurse and a midwife);
  • 35 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD);
  • Five pieces of practice-related feedback;
  • Five written reflective accounts;
  • A reflective discussion;
  • Health and character declarations; and
  • Evidence of an appropriate indemnity arrangement.

It may be too optimistic to hope that failings such as that seen at Mid Staffordshire will be prevented through this new system, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. It represents part of a culture-shift away from fire-fighting when things go wrong and towards a health service which deals with issues as they arise.

I can understand that to individual nurses and midwives, this may feel like just another box to tick and yet more paperwork. However, the material they will need to gather will be invaluable if they face a complaint which leads to a hearing before the NMC. In future, those who find themselves in this position will have a portfolio of evidence to help them to defend themselves. I have represented Registrants before the NMC who have had to gather references and write reflective pieces in a relatively short amount of time and whilst trying to cope with the stress of an impending hearing. The revalidation model may not prevent mistakes from happening or complaints from being made, but it should mean that nurses and midwives already have a wealth of material to refer to in order to demonstrate their proficiency. This can only be a good thing.