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Revalidation requirements: Reflection and reflective discussion

As part of your revalidation, you are required to record a minimum of five written reflections on your continuing professional development (CPD) activity and/or feedback and/or a practice related event over the three years prior to revalidation.

The NMC has provided a template that you must use to record your reflections. However, we encourage you to explore the range of reflective models available that we have provided links to below. Any reflective account needs to explain what you learnt from the CPD activity, feedback or experience; how you changed or improved your work as a result, and how this is relevant to the Code.

The revalidation model aligns with the four themes of the Code:

  • Prioritise people by actively seeking and reflecting on any direct feedback received from patients, service users and others to ensure that you are able to fulfil their needs
  • Practise effectively by reflecting on your professional development with your colleagues, identifying areas for improvement in your practice and undertaking professional development activities
  • Preserve safety by practising within your competency for the minimum number of practice hours, reflecting on feedback, and addressing any gaps in your practice through CPD
  • Promote professionalism and trust by providing feedback and helping other NMC colleagues reflect on their professional development, and being accountable to others for your professional development and revalidation.

You should retain your reflections in your portfolio as a record and be prepared to share them with your reflective discussion partner.

RCN guide to reflection

It is important for lifelong learning, and to assist meeting your revalidation requirements, that you try to capture what you have learned from any educational initiative that you have undertaken. 

What is reflection?

A conscious effort to think about an activity or incident that allows us to consider what was positive or challenging and if appropriate plan how it might be enhanced, improved or done differently in the future.

Why is it important?

Reflection helps us to think about, plan and deliver high quality and safe care to our patients/clients.

Principles of reflection

You should explore the nature of the practice activity / incident, CPD activity or practice related feedback, what you learn from it, how it might impact on your future practice and how it is relevant to the code.

Reflection in and on action

'Reflection in action' means to think about or reflect while you are carrying out the activity. It is typical when something is going wrong or you are nervous about something new or out of the ordinary and you cannot help yourself thinking about it, but practitioners rarely formalise this process.

'Reflection on action', however, means thinking about the practice undertaken after the event and turning that information into knowledge.

You can use the questions below to help you. Once completed, keep your reflections, together with the relevant documentation, in your personal professonal portfolio.

  • What have I learnt that maintains or develops my professional knowledge and competence?
  • What do I know or can I do now that I couldn’t do before attending/completing this educational initiative?
  • What can I apply immediately to my practice and client care?
  • Is there anything I didn’t understand or need to explore further/read more about in order to clarify my learning?
  • What else do I need to do/know to extend my professional development in this area?
  • Thinking about the four themes of the Code featured at the top of this page, how does this activity relate to the NMC Code? 

There are a number of structured reflective models to help you formulate your reflections. Here are a few popular ones:

Gibb’s (1980)

Johns (1994; 1995)

Borton’s (1970)

Eight ways to improve your reflection

Written reflections are a requirement of revalidation. Follow our tips on how to best prepare yours.

Public Health Nursing Practice: An RCN reflection tool

A reflection tool for all registrants working in a public health role is now available.

Reflective discussion

As part of your revalidation, you must have a reflective discussion with another NMC registrant covering your written reflections and the Code. This could be your line manager or someone you frequently work with or someone from a professional network or learning group, just as long as they are on the register. You do not need to work with them on a daily basis and you do not need to undertake the same type of practice. This discussion should be face-to-face in an appropriate environment, however you may have a video conference if this is not possible.

If you work in a setting with no other NMC registrants you should make contact with other NMC-registered peers from your wider professional or specialty network. The RCN has a number of professional forums you could join if you are a member.  You can find more information on joining the RCN here.

You will need to retain a completed reflective discussion form. The NMC has provided a template for this. The NMC registrant(s) with whom you had your reflective discussion with must sign and date the form, recording their name, NMC Pin, email, address and postcode.

You can choose to store your completed reflective discussion and confirmation forms in either paper or electronic format. You should still respect the fact that these forms contain personal data about your reflective discussion partner and confirmer.