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  • 03 May 2017
  • 4 min read

Revalidation makes us better nurses

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Revalidation has been greeted with a degree of fear amongst nurses. We try to dispel the fears around it with the experience of one nurse who went through revalidation earlier this year.

Don't fear revalidation, it's OK

The introduction of revalidation in 2016 has caused a lot of anxiety amongst nurses and midwives – particularly those who have been qualified for over 10 years.

The notion that we have to provide evidence of our continued professional development and reflective pieces of writing, discuss them with a colleague and then be signed off as having completed our ‘set work’ has been, frankly, terrifying for a lot of nurses.

No longer are we able to just keep our own personal portfolio of work and reflection in the hope that we don’t get summoned for audit every 3 years by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

It has led to me hearing from colleagues, especially those approaching retirement, that they do not intend to revalidate and will stop practicing as a result.

This was reflected in a survey undertaken by Independent Nurse in 2016 where 20% of nurses approaching retirement age said they would rather retire than revalidate.

Given the amount of experienced nurses this would cause us to lose, it will only add to the already diminishing pool of dedicated nurses the NHS has available.


This is a huge shame, but it is probably a reflection of the wider issues in nursing related to how the whole profession has changed in the past decade.

No longer can we pay lip service to the 3 year renewal, sign the paperwork, pay the fee, and continue to practice.

This can surely only be a good thing given how regulated we are as a profession and how we are accountable.

This is not only to the profession in a Fitness to Practice sense, but that we can also be called to account in a criminal court with the legal changes that have come into place over the past decade.

I will admit I was one of those nurses dreading the experience of revalidation. I had to complete mine earlier this year.

The NMC has created some beautifully simple templates and guidelines, including examples, of how to complete it – see

They send you monthly reminders in the 3 months preceding your renewal date. And, when you finally sit down to do it, it’s not that bad.

You just need to ensure that you give yourself the time and space to do it. It can’t be a rushed affair, so start it well in advance of your renewal date.

You must also make sure you are regularly completing Continued Practice Development work, be it via formal study in an institution, study days or RCNi.

Familiarise yourself with the new Code. We all get sent digital versions but have you actually sat and read it?

When you spend so much of your life doing the job, and have done it for so many years, it’s very easy to forget that things change and update on a continual basis.

Habitual behaviours handed down from one generation to another in nursing have long been recognised as a problem.

The fact is nurse’s struggle with change. We all do.

New IT systems, electronic prescribing, paper-light or paperless systems all take time to be adopted; this isn’t entirely surprising when we still use fax as our main form of referral to other services!


But change is good. Revalidation allows us to stop and think about what we do well and how we can do it better.

It really made me think about how I practiced.

What we do is so often a routine, we don’t think about what we do well or why we do it that way.

My experience of completing mine has also helped allay the fears of my colleagues, who are facing it later this year.

So despite my initial fears, I won’t be afraid to do my revalidation again in 3 years. However, I will be more organised!

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About the author

Since qualifying in Adult Nursing in 2002 I’ve worked as a specialist nurse with the NHS, and in the private sector as a general nurse and sessional nurse for a hospital at home team (I’ve been about a bit!).

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