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Revalidation case study: Alice Denga at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust

Matron Alice Denga

Alice Denga, a matron at the Assisted Conception Unit at Guy's and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, answers questions about her role as a confirmer in the revalidation process.

What does a confirmer do?

"A confirmer is primarily there to verify if a nurse or midwife has met all the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC’s) requirements for revalidation. The role involves making sure staff are using the NMC code in their day to day practice and ensuring their portfolio reflects this. As confirmers we also have an important part to play in supporting and reassuring staff. Some people think revalidation is a big task but I see it as a positive opportunity, raising the profile of the work we do and helping to improve public protection."

Who can be a confirmer?

"The NMC strongly recommends confirmation comes from a line manager wherever possible. If this isn’t feasible it could be another NMC-registered nurse or midwife. And if that isn’t possible, then confirmation can come from another regulated health care professional. The NMC has a useful online confirmation tool to identify an appropriate person."

When should confirmation take place?

"At Guy’s we appraise staff every year and for most of my nurses I’ve timed the appraisal three months before they are due to do the revalidation application. Staff have 60 days before their registration renewal date to submit this. It makes the process much easier if staff record things as they go along."

How do confirmers decide if requirements have been met?

"There is an NMC checklist of requirements and supporting evidence which staff should follow. This includes practice hours – 450 hours over three years, as well as 35 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) – at least 20 of which need to be participatory – and five pieces of practice related feedback. There also needs to be five written reflective accounts and reflective discussion. In order to confirm, we need to check all of these."

What happens if a confirmer doesn’t think someone has met the requirements?

"You can’t confirm someone if they haven’t met the requirements so for me, the preparation side of things is vital to allow staff the time to complete everything they need to in preparation for their revalidation."

What if the confirmer has concerns about fitness to practise?

"These should be raised promptly through the NMC’s fitness to practise procedures. Revalidation does not create a new way of raising such a concern, and the confirmation stage of revalidation does not involve making a judgement as to whether a nurse or midwife is fit to practise."

Will the NMC contact confirmers to talk about registrants?

"It is possible they will – yes. The NMC can randomly pick someone and ask to see evidence. That’s why it’s important to begin the process early and make sure at every yearly appraisal the nurses bring their revalidation portfolio of evidence regardless of whether or not they are due to revalidate. This gives me the opportunity as a confirmer to examine the complete portfolio of evidence to make sure it meets the revalidation requirements."

Do you have any tips for members just about to go through revalidation?

"I can’t stress enough the importance of good preparation. The NMC has a wealth of online information to help with this. As a confirmer, my advice is to make sure staff understand the NMC code, CPD is organised and portfolios are on track. If staff have any concerns, they should speak to their line manager sooner rather than later. Keep calm, don’t panic and the process should go smoothly. There’s no need to fear it."