The Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) have issued the new and fully revised code of conduct for nurses and midwives (NMC 2015) and it is essential that everyone is clear about the changes and the implications for revalidation, which begins in April 2016 in relation to maintaining competency and fitness to practice. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has produced a wide range of really good resources to help nurses and midwives to prepare for and engage in this process: http://rcni.com/workplace/revalidation
I was talking to a group of qualified nurse students recently and there seems to be a great deal of anxiety and concern about how they will meet the new standards, but this seems surprising when many of the elements of the process have been in place for many years, so why the concern? Surely every nurse keeps an up to date portfolio to demonstrate how they keep up to date and apply evidence based practice, otherwise how can they say they are safe practitioners?
Keeping a portfolio is the cornerstone of all professions not just nursing and is a way for professionals to record and reflect on their experience in practice. The code applies to everyone – whether their working in clinical practice, policy, education or management and needs to be used to ensure everyone on the register can practice safely and promote trust and professionalism in whatever setting.
So nurses need to be articulate in providing evidence in different ways to demonstrate this. It could be through a written reflection following a course or study day, feedback from peers, patients and colleagues within the multi professional health and social care team, evidence of involvement in developing a new service or way or working to name but a few. Equally nurses need to work together more effectively to promote the excellent work that goes on in many areas but is often considered to be “just doing the job”. Whilst the new code has been led very much by high profile cases such as North Staffs and the Francis report it is essential that nurses are able to demonstrate evidence of when things go well and are examples of exemplary practice so that these can be shared as well as when things go badly wrong.
The new code will go a long way to support nurses and midwives in striving for excellence but the NMC will need to be clear in their implementation of the revalidation monitoring process and lessons will be learned from the pilot sites to undertake this. Equally however, the NMC need to work closely with other agencies, such as the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to identify poor practice, but also to take measures to ensure that practitioners not meeting the new standards are not able to move from organisation to organisation without full and proper monitoring to ensure they take appropriate action to improve any gaps identified.
Nurses need to get better at showcasing the good work they do and also demonstrating to their managers through appraisal and personal development reviews their commitment to lifelong learning and continuing professional development. So if you have examples of how you intend to meet these new requirements share them with us at Nursing in Practice, especially if you have been brave enough to develop an e-portfolio!
RGN, BSc Hons, MSc, PGC/AP, Fellow of HEA, senior lecturer, Manchester Metropolitan University
Donna is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Health, Psychology & Social Care at Manchester Metropolitan University. With over 25 years experience in the NHS in both secondary and primary care she has worked as a practice nurse and practice nurse lead at a Primary Care Trust in the North West.
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