Caroleen Falconer is a Professional and Practice Development Nurse for St Matthews Healthcare, an independent provider of mental health services in Northamptonshire. A nurse for 48 years, Caroleen talks about her experiences of going through the NMC revalidation process for the first time, and the steps she took to also prepare her team for it.
“My role is quite complex. St Matthews Healthcare is a growing independent provider of mental health services and I not only look after staff development, training and audit of clinical practice, I place students and act as mentor to both pre and post registration students. I worked as a Practice Educator for the University of Northampton prior to this post.
"I was one of the first registrants to revalidate for 1 April 2016. I have been aware of the revalidation process for quite some time, as I have been advising our staff on the need to reflect on their learning since the pilots were announced and the draft guidance was produced by the NMC back in 2015.
"Once the final guidelines were published last October, I prepared training sessions for our staff using the resources issued by the NMC and developed some additional corporate forms for statement of good health and character, and confirmed hours. I also set up a database of qualified nurses employed by our company with their renewal dates so that I could alert staff that they may want to attend and not leave their revalidation until the last minute.
"The NMC were sending regular emails about revalidation – and although I was expecting it as I knew my renewal date, the email warning me I needed to revalidate and that I should log into NMC Online to complete the process still came as a surprise. It is a reassuring thought for the profession that though I am one of many thousands of nurses; the NMC are aware of you!
"Like others I have reflected on my learning, but as my job is complex and I have only attended a few study sessions, I also needed to include the research undertaken for training sessions that I provide to my organisation. My paperwork was somewhat disorganised, and it was collating that, that took the time. I would advise nurses to start organising your portfolio early, as it takes longer than three months to produce a focused portfolio of evidence and you also have to give your confirmer time to read the guidelines and your portfolio. Also keep your old diaries to check dates and outcomes.
"My confirmer complimented me on my portfolio of evidence saying you could tell it belonged to an educationalist. I found that writing my written reflective accounts against the NMC Code was a great way of learning the Code. Now, any observations of practice or competency I undertake are written with the Code in mind.
"I completed my revalidation application two weeks before April just in case there were any difficulties. The relief was enormous! What I have learned from revalidation, is to reflect on each learning activity and to keep a record of your supervision sessions. The latter are invaluable for feedback. I am sure that having gone through the process, nurses will be more vigilant and appreciative of any opportunity for learning and updating their practice.
"I’ve been a nurse for 48 years. I love nursing, it is the best job in the world and every day is different. My confirmation of renewal has come from the NMC so I am really pleased to have undertaken the exercise to renew my NMC registration so that I can continue doing the job I love."