Revalidation Blog

Professor Dickon Weir-Hughes, Consultant in Nursing and Midwifery, Equiniti 360 Clinical


‘Green’ Revalidation – what’s the environmental impact of using a paper-based system?

In previous blogs I’ve written about how difficult it is going to be to manage Revalidation without an electronic system. However, the enormity of the problem of using a paper-based system has to be quantified to be fully understood. In organizations with large numbers of staff I estimate that paper copies of the appraisal paperwork, CPD evidence and 360 appraisal materials will require enormous amounts of storage space. So, for a team of 30 staff we’re probably talking about one fling cabinet’s worth of storage per year. NHS rules dictate that training records must be kept for 5 years. So, that’s a rolling 5 years worth of storage per team of 30. So for a trust with 3000 staff were talking about almost an aircraft hanger full of filing cabinets (and people to manage them)!

However, an IT solution removes the need for all this paper, printer / photocopier ink, light and heat and filing cabinets. So, its much more GREEN!

I’ve done an NHS Good Corporate Citizenship Assessment that demonstrates how ‘GREEN’ an IT solution can be. If you need a copy then let us know.

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Revalidation and ‘Digital Eagles’

I love the Barclays adverts for ‘Digital Eagles’ and the online shopping advice offered by those wonderful ‘Silver Surfers’. 

What, you may think, has this to do with Revalidation and has Dickon finally lost the plot?! 

Well, I think it is highly relevant. Most sensible organisations will be considering the implementation of an electronic system to support Revalidation, as it’s really the only way. Most of us who use IT every day will love the simplicity of an online solution that allows to collect all of our appraisal information, CPD evidence, reflections and 360 appraisals in one place. However, there will be colleagues who find this challenging and we will need to find ways of providing help and support. 

I’ve done an NHS Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA). If you need a copy then let us know.

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Revalidation – what is the true cost?

At this stage it’s not possible to evaluate the long term clinical benefits of Revalidation on patient safety but that will be an interesting study! However, it is possible to look at the costs of a manual / paper-based system versus an IT solution.

If you take the cost of a paper-based system for thousands of staff (including storage of the records, printing and copying) to say nothing of the administration required to manage a 360 degree appraisal process then the costs of an IT option disappear into insignificance.

Don’t believe me? Well we’ve done some detailed cost analysis for organisations interested in our solution. Please let us know if you’d like to know more.

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Revalidation – what are the HR implications?

Revalidation is an exciting development in nursing and midwifery in pursuit of safer patient care but not everyone will view it as such. For some colleagues who have practised for many years with no problems or difficulties and who qualified when registration was for life (and not just for Christmas!) there may be a view that all of this is just another administrative task. I worry particularly about colleagues who are nearing retirement and who may choose not to Revalidate, as they just can’t face it. This, of course, means that they won’t be able to practice any more. If a group of staff decided this was their wish then the staffing implications could be scarily significant too.

So, how will we support these colleagues? Is your HR team ready for these challenges? How do we ensure that people are gracefully supported after many years in our professions?

It’s really important for HR colleagues to be fully engaged with us on Revalidation and for them to evaluate the implications.

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Revalidation – you and your organisation

So, what are you and your organisation doing about Revalidation?

Understandably, this change will create some anxieties and it seems to me that organisational leaders need to step up and provide structure and support. However, Revalidation is also about us taking personal accountability for our own practice, education and registration. It’s about professional maturity and integrating the Code into everything we do.

It would be good to find out what your organisation is doing but it’s equally important to be personally proactive and to prepare for this change in January 2016.

What are you waiting for?!

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Revalidation: the roles of nurse and midwife leaders

I meet a lot of nurse and midwife leaders and Revalidation is frequently a topic of conversation. However, what scares me is how many are waiting to be told what to do with the implementation of Revalidation! There are no experts as none of us have done it before so I don’t understand why people won’t get on with putting systems and processes in place and start preparing their staff?

Six months sometimes seems like a long time in health care but it will go so quickly!

A good starting point for leaders is to take a look at how many staff are due to re-register/revalidate in the first quarter of 2016 and prioritise supporting these individuals. Do they know about Revalidation and the new code? Are their appraisals up to date? Do they all have portfolios of evidence?

But, organisationally, how will you manage this process? Managing it on paper will be an almost impossible task. If your organisation doesn’t have a project group in place that’s discussing the process and possible technological solutions, such as the Equiniti 360 Clinical product, prompt the discussion now!

For more information, please contact us at



Reflecting on reflecting….

The term Reflective practice has been used widely in nursing and midwifery for years. The Revalidation process will require us to reflect on our practice, our learning, feedback from patients and colleagues and the Code. However, do we all know how to reflect and how to appropriately use those reflections in our clinical appraisal and portfolios?

Professor Gary Rolfe’s model of Reflective Practice has been used by many of us but in a sobering paper he gave at Swansea University in 2013 he cautions us. He (and others) felt (and perhaps still feel) that the concept/process has become over-simplified. You can find his paper at - it makes interesting reading. However, my question is how we ensure that reflective practice in the context of Revalidation is effective and meaningful – and indeed, not over-simplified. I think it’s going to be a major challenge but with little more than 6 months to go before Revalidation is implemented now is a good time to reflect on reflecting.

How will you take this forward in your practice?

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Revalidation and appraisal: two sides of the same ‘coin’?

When the GMC implemented medical revalidation for doctors they decided that the revalidation appraisal and organisational appraisal would be two separate processes. Thank goodness, the NMC have decided that for nurses and midwives the process will be one. So, for us the appraisal process and indeed appraisal meeting will now take on an even more important and significant role as without it we won’t be able to remain on the register.

Many organisations have gone down the ‘road’ of HR led values-based appraisals. There’s nothing wrong with that but it won’t help us stay on the register! From January 2016 our appraisals will need to focus on our adherence to the Code and will need to demonstrate and evidence that adherence. So whilst both values-based and clinical appraisals should involve meaningful conversations they have different purposes.

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Revalidation – are you ready?

So, with less than a year to go before revalidation is implemented (in April 2016) just how ready are you? April 2016 seems like a long way off but it will go like lightening!

Your current NMC re-registration date will become your revalidation date so if you are due to re-register and sign your practice notification in 2016 you will have the privilege of being one of the first people to revalidate. Because we all re-register once every three years (as opposed to paying our fees, which is annual) it means that a third of the NMC register will revalidate each year so about 220, 000 nurses and / or midwives will re-register in 2016 – that’s more than 20, 000 a month. So, if you’re due to re-register in 2016, now is the time to focus on what you’ll need to do to get ready. 

So exactly what should you do? If you keep a portfolio now is the time to get it out and dust it down, to organise it and ensure you have everything in one place. However, the idea that your portfolio is just a collection of attendance certificates is now a bygone. It needs to come alive! So, a suggestion is that you take out a copy of the new NMC Code and start to think of the contents of your portfolio as evidence of adherence to the certain elements of the Code. You could even start to organise things in accordance with the Code. You will also want to find copies of previous appraisals or PDP’s, anything you’ve written or published, copies of letters of thanks and start to write some reflective notes. In a future blog I’ll focus on writing reflections.

If you don’t have a portfolio, you need to start one today!

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CPD – who’s responsibility is it?

I was in a hospital recently and was talking to nurses about Revalidation and one core element of it, namely CPD. I was also speaking to my Optician recently and knowing what I do, we happened to discuss CPD. The difference in approach was quite marked and saddened me. Many nurses I speak to still say that they can’t do a certain course or some other piece of CPD because their organisation won’t pay for it or their boss won’t support them. In contrast, my optician spoke of the number of papers she would read this year to keep abreast of advances in her areas of special interest, how she would reflect upon them and record those reflections and ways in which she would update her clinical practice. She then talked about a study day she intended to book and pay for. As her patient, that reassures me hugely.

 Many nurses and midwives are highly motivated and do have an absolute focus on their CPD and reflective practice – the fact that you’re reading this means that you’re probably one of them! But how do we as professions ensure that we’re all on board and that we’re all taking charge of our own development? I don’t think there’s an easy answer but surely this is an important area on which we must focus.

 If you’d like to feedback to me on this blog or you’d like to get in touch with us please email:



The challenge of getting patient and colleague feedback

 One of the challenges of Revalidation will be obtaining patient or client and colleague feedback but it is a key part of the process. Our medical colleagues have made this element of appraisal work well and have started to experience some tangible benefits. There are some obvious challenges for some colleagues, such as operating theatre scrub nurses, nurses in forensic mental health and some other groups. Generally though, it will be positive and possible for nurses and midwives to get patient or client feedback and it’s possible for all of us to get colleague feedback. Nurse Educators will also have to focus on feedback from students and colleagues.

 Have you started to think about how you will get feedback and from whom? It’s not too early to start thinking about it. Try working up a ‘dummy’ list of about 10-15 colleagues you could ask, even if your Revalidation date is someway off. And then think about how you’ll get feedback from your patients or clients. You may also want to start keeping photocopies of letters of compliment you receive from patients or clients and relatives or even those that are sent to your unit or team in which you get a mention.

 Most well run organisations will be put a system in place for feedback management (and indeed Equiniti 360 Clinical offer such a system, already used by countless organisations for medical colleagues) so you might want to keep an ‘eye out’ for your organisation’s plans.

 If you’d like to feedback to me on this blog or you’d like to get in touch with us please email: 




Revalidation and bringing the NMC Code ‘alive’

 One of the interesting things about Revalidation is the focus on the NMC Code. In fact, the Code will be the cornerstone of Revalidation as we’ll all be Revalidating against the Code in our clinical appraisals. That’s not to say that organisational values and objectives aren’t important but they are not as important as patient and client safety!

 The focus on the Code is really exciting as finally it will come alive and be a document that we will all need to consider more thoroughly and intensively in our practice, reflections and appraisals. It also, of course, means that we will all be measured in the same way, regardless of which of the four UK countries or the Islands we practice in, regardless of our speciality or indeed our employer. This is the kind of consistency that patients and clients deserve, particularly those who move between different sectors and providers as part of their care journey.

 In preparing for Revalidation, I’m suggesting that nurses and midwives re-engage with the Code. Regardless, of the changes that will be made to the new NMC Code the principles will remain the same and so any re-engagement with the Code will be really helpful.

 If you’d like to feedback to me on this blog or you’d like to get in touch with us please email:



Revalidation: are you ready?

The concept of Revalidation isn’t new: doctors have had it in place for sometime but its’ implementation is new to nursing and midwifery. While many of us have been brought up on UKCC, and more recently NMC, re-registration and PREP with many of us keeping portfolios it’s fair to say that the linkages between appraisal, continuing professional development (CPD), reflective practice and re-registration simply haven’t been there. Revalidation will change all of that.

 The introduction of Revalidation in January 2016 marks a turning point for our professions and heralds a renewed energy and focus on professional accountability, the NMC Code and our commitment to patient and client safety. So whilst the implementation seems a bit scary, I believe it’s the right thing to do because it’s the right thing to do!

 In this series of blogs I’ll be reflecting on my experiences of working with organisations and individuals during this key preparatory year, which will disappear faster than you know! In a later blog I’ll provide you with an email address and really welcome your feedback.

 Professor Dickon Weir-Hughes

Consultant in nursing and midwifery

Equiniti 360 Clinical