In an aim to ‘put compassion back into the heart of nursing’, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has introduced three-year competency checks to ensure nurses and midwives reflect on patient feedback and provide evidence to prove they are fit to practise.
Under the new system, known as ‘revalidation’, nurses and midwives will undergo competency checks every three years whereby they will have to prove to the NMC that they are fit to practise in order to retain their registration. This will be measured in line with a new code of conduct including standards of performance and ethics. The idea of revalidation was one of many proposals first mooted in the Francis report published in February 2013 as a response to the Mid-Staffordshire Public Inquiry.
With regards to these proposals, Dr Katerina Kolyva, Director of Continued Practice at the NMC has been widely quoted as saying: “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 NMC published a consultation last week seeking guidance on the use of patient feedback as part of the revalidation process. The NMC is inviting the views of nurses before they publish the revised code and the first of the two part consultation period will run until 31 March 2014.
For the NMC, this process is being put in place to ensure that those on the NMC register are fit to practise safely and in line with the revised code. It is further hoped that by incorporating patient feedback into the revalidation process, nurses and midwives will take more time to reflect and show improvement in order to keep their registration. After all, patients are the biggest part of the day job for nurses and midwives and few would disagree that their feedback is crucial to the continued regulation of the profession and the overall aim of maintaining public confidence.
By Geoff May, graduate paralegal in the professional discipline department
If you are a nurse or midwife and have any concerns regarding revalidation or are due to face disciplinary proceedings by the NMC, our specialist professional discipline team can help. For any advice and assistance please call 0333 344 4889.