The Nursing and Midwifery Council wants your views on its model for regularly reassessing professional standards of conduct and competence, writes Katerina Kolyva
The main role of the Nursing and Midwifery Council is to protect the public. Our ability to do this will be enhanced by the introduction of revalidation.
‘We have been working with a range of people and organisations to develop the principles underpinning revalidation’
Revalidation is the process by which nurses and midwives will regularly demonstrate that they are up to date and continue to remain fit to practise.
We have worked with a range of stakeholders, including representatives of organisations that employ nurses and midwives, to develop the model. We will now be seeking wider feedback through a public consultation that is set to launch in January.
This consultation will explore how the model would work across practice settings and will also inform the review of the NMC code and the development of guidance on revalidation.
Reflect on feedback
Although our model is different from the General Medical Council’s system, it has the same aim: providing patients and the public with greater confidence that the people caring for them continue to meet the professional standards of conduct and competence. Following the introduction of revalidation in 2015, nurses and midwives will need to revalidate every three years when they renew their registration.
The principles underpinning the NMC’s approach were agreed by its governing council in September. Revalidation will require the nurses and midwives on our register to confirm to the NMC that they are fit to practise and that they have sought input from third parties.
Nurses and midwives will need to seek and reflect upon feedback, which could come from peers, patients, carers, students. They will also need to seek and receive confirmation from a third party that their practice meets the NMC code. The details regarding the source and mechanism of this confirmation will be informed by the upcoming consultation.
The NMC plans to regularly monitor the revalidation submissions of nurses and midwives on a random and risk-weighted basis using intelligence from the NMC’s fitness to practise process and information from other regulators.
Over the past 12 months, we have been working with a range of people and organisations to develop the principles underpinning revalidation, including nurses and midwives, unions and professional bodies, educators and students, employers and human resources managers, as well as patients and the public. The collaboration with these individuals and organisations has been invaluable, and I am hugely grateful to everyone who has generously volunteered their time and expertise.
‘Appraisals continue to have a role to play in furthering staff development and encouraging periodic reflection’
The new year brings the start of our wider public consultation. We would like to hear from every person and organisation that will be involved in implementing nursing and midwifery revalidation to ensure that it is practicable and supports real improvements in standards of care and treatment.
Naturally, there are unanswered questions and challenges at this stage. The only way to find practical ways to make revalidation work for all is by continuing to work with and listen to our stakeholders.
Culture of improvement
We are aware that there are differing or no appraisal systems in place across the various practice settings in the UK. We want to ensure our revalidation model can suit all scopes of practice and a variety of employment settings, so we want to explore the potential sources and mechanisms for obtaining third party confirmations and practice related feedback.
We are also seeking input on continual professional development, perceptions of risk and scopes of practice of the nurses and midwives on our register.
One of the aims of revalidation is to nurture a culture of professional improvement by encouraging reflection on the quality of care given, reflection on feedback received and learning and development.
Regardless of the purpose of revalidation, or whether periodic appraisals become a mechanism of third party confirmation, appraisals continue to have a role to play in furthering staff development and encouraging periodic reflection.
The consultation will also seek input to inform the review of the NMC code, which sets out the fundamental standards of good nursing and midwifery practice. The review of the code will ensure it remains relevant to contemporary practice and is fully aligned to revalidation.
‘Feedback and incorporating any lessons learned into practice are already common professional behaviours of many nurses’
We will also develop guidance on revalidation for the third party confirmers and for nurses and midwives. The revised code and guidance will be launched at the end of 2014. The start of 2015 will see early implementers testing the revalidation model in different settings and scopes of practice. Revalidation will then be launched by the end of 2015.
Seeking and listening to feedback and incorporating any lessons learned into practice are already common professional behaviours of many nurses and midwives.
We want revalidation to formalise this process and make it universal by anchoring it to the NMC’s requirements for continuing fitness to practise.
Dr Katerina Kolyva is director of continued practice at the Nursing and Midwifery Council