‘Registration Renewed’

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‘Registration Renewed’ – I’m incredibly proud to be on the Nursing and Midwifery Council Register. I worked hard for that PIN and each day I work hard to retain my PIN. It means a lot to me, so today when I saw those words ‘registration renewed’ it made me smile 🙂 Today I have revalidated my professional registration with the Nursing & Midwifery Council, which enables me to continue to practice as a registered nurse in the UK for the next three years. The process of revalidation is fairly new, and all nurses and midwives in the UK must now complete this in order to maintain their professional registration.

As one of the first nurses required to follow the new revalidation process, I thought it might be useful to offer my perspective of the process. As a nurse working in education, I don’t work in a traditional clinical area and so here are my thoughts on revalidation from a nurse academics point of view.

A few months ago, I started receiving emails from NMC Online telling to prepare for revalidation before 1st April. I’ve been busy as always and have to admit while it was certainly a priority, I kept putting it off until I had a good amount of time to focus on it, so a few weeks ago, when I realised it was creeping up on me, I set to work firstly reading through the supporting information, then printing off the templates provided by the Nursing and Midwifery Council and then making an appointment with my line manager (as my confirmer).

I must also admit that when I realised I would need to revalidate soon I was a little apprehensive, especially as at first glance it appeared to be a lot of work (it actually wasn’t!) and as I don’t work in a traditional clinical practice area, I wondered if I would be able to meet the requirements (of course I would!). After seeing much discussion and debate about revalidation on social media, I had been left with the feeling that revalidation was going to be something complicated, and something really quite time consuming so I was pleasantly surprised to find that wasn’t the case.

Once I realised that actually there are just 5 elements to revalidation, it made much more sense and felt much more manageable in bite size chunks, so here’s how I recorded the revalidation requirements:

a) Practice hours log
This was straight forward. I have worked full time for the last three years so fairly easy to calculate annual hours. There is a list to choose from for your scope of practice and setting, for me my scope of practice is Education in a university setting.

b) 35 hours of CPD activity
This was fairly easy to do. I looked back through my diary for the last 3 years. I was able to identify far more CPD activity than I needed. This is because CPD activity doesn’t necessarily mean sitting in a classroom. In fact for the participatory element, the NMC state ‘you simply have to undertake activity that involves interaction with one or more other professionals. This can be in a physical environment or a virtual one – you don’t have to be in the same room as the people you undertake the activity with’. My CPD activity was fairly diverse and included attendance on a 3 day qualitative research workshop, enter and view panel training with Healthwatch, and JISC Learning and Teaching Expert Group meetings. I’ve also presented at conferences (and participated as a delegate), participated on lots of staff development days, and of course I am a PhD student so lots of learning taking place there! The key here is to think beyond traditional classroom CPD activity, learning and development happens in many places!

c) 5 pieces of practice related feedback
Ok, so this is the one I was a little more concerned about. I don’t work in a clinical area, so I had to look elsewhere for feedback. After a bit of thinking, I began to find feedback in so many places: module evaluations, emails, online discussions, nominations for awards, discussions with staff, teaching observations, thank you cards, PDR, etc. It turned out to be much easier than I thought. The key here is to think a little bit wider than written feedback. Feedback comes in many forms.

d) 5 written reflective accounts
This was straight forward, particularly with the templates provided by the NMC. It isn’t arduous, it focuses on The Code and is actually quite useful for developing future goals.

e) Reflective Discussion
This can be done with a registrant, who may or may not be your confirmer, and as my confirmer highlighted today, sometimes it may be more useful to have that discussion with someone who maybe more appropriate. I did my reflective discussion with my confirmer today, and it was fine.

Following my confirmation meeting, I needed to log on to NMC Online to enter my confirmers details, in addition to declaring that I have good health and character and that I have a professional indemnity arrangement. Oh and the small matter of the annual fee £120….

So, all in all a straight forward process. My advice, don’t get overwhelmed, get yourself a folder, print off the templates, and start to build your revalidation evidence. I’ve decided to start my revalidation for 2019 now! I do think its a worthwhile process and I feel that having another registrant to confirm that I have met the requirements to remain on the register really strengthens our credibility as registered nurses. Happy revalidating and let me know how you get on 🙂


Nurses should never underestimate the power of care and compassion

This morning I met a lovely lady at the hairdressers. She made me proud to be a nurse. She didn’t save a life, she offered care and compassion in a small way but in a way which I am sure will always be remembered…

 As I waited for my appointment in the hairdressers today, I watched a beautiful bride and her bridesmaids having their hair done for their special day. As I watched a team of hairdressers make sure that every strand of hair was perfect for each excited lady, it immediately brightened my day, but not as much as the act of kindness that followed…

As I watched and waited, I noticed the lady sat next to me was reading something which looked like a nursing assignment ready for submission. We had already chatted briefly about how lovely the bridal party looked and so I asked her if she was proof-reading something. She explained that her niece was training to be a nurse and that she had asked her to read through it. She explained that she was proofreading the work for spelling and grammar. As a Lecturer in Nursing, I was immediately interested. The lady went on to explain that she was a nurse herself, working at a local hospital and that she too had trained to be a nurse at The University of Salford. Of course this common ground opened up a great conversation about mutual people and places we knew. The lady talked about how she loved her job and that the unit she worked on was about to trial long 12.5 hour shifts which she wasn’t sure about. We discussed the pros and cons of this of course and she explained that her workplace had allowed her flexibility on her shifts through their family friendly policy. She expressed how lucky she was to work in such a lovely ward area and I have to be honest, when I meet nurses, they usually only tell me how busy they are and how short staffed they are and so this was refreshing to hear. The coincidences continued as she talked about her birthday and the holiday she had booked. She explained that she would soon be flying to Zante in Greece and staying in a hotel that I too had stayed in when visiting my parents who have retired there. The lady had been several times (as have I) and again we talked about mutual people and places we knew. As we chatted I noticed that she made me feel very comfortable and at ease, she was pleasant, polite and humorous too, all important qualities for a nurse I thought. As we both sat down to have our hair cut, the lady’s hairdresser was heavily pregnant and was expressing her concern about a pain in her arm. The lady responded to the hairdresser with such care and compassion, that it was lovely to watch a skilled nurse in action. She asked questions, she listened and she reassured. It was clear that this lady was a genuinely caring and compassionate nurse who was competent in using her communication and assessment skills. I watched the lady in admiration as she gently offered genuine reassurance which was clearly well received. What I observed was a nurse whose inherent ability to use all 6 C’s was a shining example of our great nurses. After hearing so many bad news items about nurses, this truly did lift my spirits. As we continued chatting, the lady asked me if I missed working in clinical practice. This is also a question that my students often ask me. My usual response is ‘Yes, of course!’ but the truth is, I also enjoy contributing to the development of our future nurses, and if they can all show care and compassion like the lady in the hairdressers today, I will be very proud of my work.

Today reminded me that we don’t have to look far for exceptional nursing care, there are nurses who are proud to provide exceptional care both on and off duty. I don’t usually enjoy a trip to the hairdressers but today was an experience that made me proud to be a nurse. I wonder if the lady realises the impact she made on me and on the hairdresser who appeared so grateful for the care she was offered. I hope that she can never underestimate the value and power of that small act of care and compassion. I also wonder if her niece realises what a wonderful mentor she has. I think sometimes we underestimate the impact of our actions, no matter how small. I don’t know the lady’s name and I may never meet her again but I am grateful to her for making me feel very proud to be a nurse!

Telephone advice is not easy…

As a children’s nurse, friends and family have always used me as their first point of contact when their children are poorly. A few weeks ago, it was one of those occasions. While shopping in Sainsbury’s (other supermarkets are available!) I received a telephone call from a friend asking for advice. As the focus of the call was a rash, I could offer very little advice without physically being able to see it. I was told that earlier in the week, a diagnosis had been made (the rash was due to a viral infection) and was not showing any signs of improvement as the GP had promised. It made me think about the difficulties faced by the highly criticised 111 service, which has incidentally recently been reported as steadily improving. Contrary to this, a few weeks ago, I heard that a call to 111 for pain relief advice had resulted in an unnecessary dispatch of an ambulance and full paramedic crew. This had led to a trip to an already full to capacity accident and emergency department where analgesics were prescribed and they were duly discharged home. This was the result of an overcautious telephone call handler who had highlighted a red flag symptom and dispatched an ambulance regardless of pleas not to waste anyone’s time. However had the pain turned out be caused by something more serious, the outcome may have been very different. For any health care professional to make clinical judgement during a telephone call is of course problematic, and so in some ways I can relate to the overcautious call handler. Sometimes it is better to be safer than sorry, and sometimes it better to take a risk, but the decision during a telephone call is difficult one. It made me think about our student nurses. While we teach about assessment, communication and clinical decision making, it tends to be face to face. I am sure that all student and registered nurses have been asked for telephone advice and I am sure that it hasn’t always been easy. It certainly made me think that telephone assessment is a skill that even the most experienced of nurses can get wrong and can make the best of us nervous.

I would be very interested to hear about experiences of telephone advice training for preregistration student nurses and for registered nurses.

So this was my first attempt at writing a blog…it wasn’t as scary as I thought!