Hayley is the lead nurse in an integrated community mental health team. Her line manager and confirmer is Julie, a social worker.
As the lead nurse in a community mental health team, Hayley oversees the other nurses within the team and forms a triangle of management with the senior social worker and the team leader. Her role is half managerial and half clinical.
First thoughts about revalidation
Like many nurses, Hayley felt apprehensive about revalidation.
"It did seem like a lot of work to pull together at first, and we nurses are not always as good at keeping our evidence in one place as we should be," Hayley admits. "But we've had a lot of support at work, and after attending some revalidation sessions the process seemed much less stressful."
Practice hours and continuing professional development (CPD)
Hayley works full time so she found the practice hours requirement easy to meet, and straightforward to evidence as well. She simply used the practice hours log from the NMC website to record that she works 9-5 from Monday to Friday. The CPD requirement was also straightforward.
"When you collate all of your evidence together it's surprising to see how much you actually achieve over the three years," Hayley says. "Reflecting on some of those training days again was really good."
"Of all the requirements, this was the one that made me think," Hayley says.
She decided to use some feedback she received from a student, a patient review that she had carried out, and feedback given at her annual appraisals.
"I actually found it very helpful, and I wouldn't be worried about doing it again now. Going through it once gives you confidence."
Reflective accounts and reflective discussion
Hayley admits that writing the reflective accounts was a challenge to begin with, but once she got going she found that they really flowed. After she had completed all five accounts she had her reflective discussion.
"My manager and confirmer is a social worker by profession, so I knew I had to find someone else to have the reflective discussion with and I chose one of the community psychiatric nurses in my team," Hayley explains. "I've worked with her for a long time and some of the issues I'd reflected on she was already aware of, so that influenced my choice."
They spent about an hour together going through each of Hayley's reflections.
"I found it really helpful to have that discussion with someone who understands the content and the context of my reflections in relation to my practice," Hayley says. "There were definitely benefits for both parties."
Following her reflective discussion, Hayley was ready to complete the final step of the process. Her confirmer and line manager, Julie, was aware of revalidation but her knowledge was limited so Hayley went through the Information for confirmers with her and they talked about exactly what they needed to do.
Hayley had her appraisal in December and they discussed her progress at that meeting. Then in the final confirmation meeting they spent about an hour going through Hayley's portfolio, before Julie signed everything off.
"I work in a team with a number of different professions – occupational therapists, social workers, a psychologist, a psychiatrist – and Julie manages all of them," Hayley explains. "From her perspective revalidation really opens up what we are doing as a profession, and it gives her a chance to better understand what I am doing as an individual in her team. It also gave me the chance to introduce her to the Code. We both found it really valuable."
For Hayley the benefits of revalidation are obvious:
"It makes us look at what we do and see if there are any things we can change or improve," she says. "It also encourages us to take feedback on board – constructive as well as positive. We aren’t always as good at doing that as we could be."
Despite feeling apprehensive at first, Hayley admits that she enjoyed the process in the end.
"Getting everything together and looking at what I've done over the last three years was a positive experience, not just for me but for my manager and my colleague as well," she says. "The main piece of advice I'm giving to people is to write your reflective accounts as soon as something of interest happens. That way it's all still fresh in your mind."