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10 ways agency staff can prepare for revalidation

Revalidation is a new process that all nurses and midwives need to go through, in order to complete their registration with the NMC.

It's natural for any nurse or midwife to feel nervous about revalidation, but for agency staff who don't regularly work in a large NHS Trust, this pressure can feel even greater. 

In reality, revalidation is no harder for agency nurses to complete, but there are some simple things to bear in mind:

1. Sign up to NMC Online and check your revalidation date

Use NMC Online to manage your registration. Set up a free account and check your renewal date (the date when you will be revalidating). 

The NMC will notify you at least 60 days before your application for revalidation is due. You then have 60 days to log in to NMC Online and complete the application process.

2. Give yourself time to learn the process

For those with a renewal date of 2017 and beyond, revalidation can seem a long way away. But remember, you will be revalidating on your practice for the whole three year period up to this date, so it is important that you understand what is being asked of you.

Start collecting your evidence, build up your portfolio and discuss your revalidation evidence with others - that way you'll avoid any unnecessary surprises when you receive your 60-day reminder from the NMC.

3. Learn from others 

It is estimated that 16,000 nurses and midwives have revalidated in April 2016, and a significant percentage of this figure will be agency staff. These colleagues will be gaining a wealth of experience about revalidation, and can help you to understand the process. You never know, you could be providing support for someone else in the future. 

4. Keep a record of your practice hours

To demonstrate to your confirmer that you have met the minimum number of practice hours required to revalidate, it is important to keep a record of your work. The NMC have produced a template for this.

Practice hours includes time spent providing direct care to patients, managing teams, teaching others and helping to shape policy or run a care service - any time in which you have used your knowledge and experience as a nurse. It does not just mean hands on clinical practice.

5. Don't be afraid to ask for feedback

Getting feedback can be an uncomfortable process but it's vital to help you reflect upon and improve your practice. Questionnaires and simple feedback forms (including this version from the NMC) are a useful way to find out what you are doing well and what you could be doing better. Feedback can be from any point over the three years up to your revalidation date, so there are plenty of opportunities to ask.

6. Think about your CPD

As part of your revalidation, you must undertake 35 hours of continuing professional development, 20 of which must be in participation with other learners. Treatments and technologies are always changing so it's important to stay one step ahead.

For RCN members worried about the cost of completing this requirement, there are numerous free and discounted courses throughout the year and opportunities to learn online too. 

7. Regularly update your portfolio

You may already have a portfolio with information about the training or courses you have completed in the last three years. If not - start collecting and storing your evidence now and make sure it’s saved in a safe place. 

Your portfolio can be paper-based, stored on a computer or online in a digital format. 

8. Identify your reflective discussion partner and your confirmer

As a nurse or midwife it's your responsibility to find an appropriate person who you can have your reflective discussion with; someone who can review your portfolio and confirm to the NMC that you have completed all the revalidation requirements. 

If you work with a more senior NMC registrant, or your line manager is an NMC registrant, then they are a sensible person to ask.

For agency nurses who feel isolated and unable to identify an appropriate person, connections can be made through professional networks. RCN Forums are a great way to meet nurses working in your field of practice.

9. Seek out support

There is a wealth of support available for agency staff, including opportunities to attend free courses on revalidation across the UK. 

Organisations including the RCN and the NMC have information to help you too.

10. Speak to colleagues

It’s important to remember that even as an agency nurse you are part of the nursing team, and the relationships you build with colleagues will enable you to approach revalidation with confidence.

This guidance has been produced in association with Hallam Medical, a UK-based nursing agency.

Revalidation

Advice to help you through each of the revalidation requirements.