The new Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) revalidation process for community nurses and midwives is a ‘wake up’ call for nurses to prepare the necessary requirements needed to continue to work in health and social care.
But a survey of 1,100 Unite/Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association (CPHVA) community nurses questions whether the whole process, including the 450 hours of nursing practice each year, will improve public confidence in the profession.
The survey of health visitors, school nurses and public health nurses found that only 48 per cent believed that revalidation will improve public confidence in how the public is protected.
However, Unite lead professional officer Obi Amadi said that the revalidation process, which has just completed its pilot stage, was a ‘wake up’ call for NHS employers to provide community nurses with the support and training to help engage with the revalidation requirements.
Previously, NMC registrants have been able to self-validate by ticking the appropriate boxes to say they were ‘fit to practice’.
Now they will have to revalidate every three years to remain on the NMC register, a compulsory requirement if they wish to maintain registration to work in health and social care. It is due to be introduced fully across the UK next April.
All nurses and midwives will be required to complete an annual 450 hours of nursing practice, plus 40 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) every three years, collect five pieces of feedback from patients and colleagues, and provide five written reflections relating to the NMC code of conduct.
The survey also showed that just over a quarter (27 per cent) are confident that they actually know what the revalidation process involves, and more than two thirds (68 per cent) feel that they have not been given enough information.
Asked about their worries relating to the process, 57 per cent said that they are anxious about finding the time, with 27 per cent concerned about making errors.
Managing their already heavy workloads to make extra time emerged as a huge concern for the nurses surveyed. Just 37 per cent said that they are confident they will be supported in their workplace, while they undertake the necessary steps for revalidation.
Unite lead professional officer Obi Amadi said: “Change, even when welcomed, still creates a certain level of anxiety and apprehension. This is understandable, but if registrants act now and prepare at a steady pace, the impact will be less.
“Nobody can deny it will take extra time, but our advice is to start early. If you do nothing else now in preparation, make sure you register with NMC online. We are now at the ‘wake up’ call stage.
“Although revalidation is the individual’s responsibility, they need support and the time from their employers for the process to be effective. Employers want staff working to a high standard, so they have to do what is needed to ensure that happens.
“Employers are starting to get to grips with how they need to support staff through revalidation.”
The survey was carried out by the Community Practitioner, the professional journal for CPHVA members.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2061 or 07768 693940.
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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.