Leaving Nursing – To Be or Not To Be? That was the Question

Is Revalidation for Me?

Anyone who is a registered nurse will understand my issues with the revalidation process. I’m not saying we don’t need checks, of course, there should,  but maybe there could be a better way of matching the revalidation to the practicalities of your job. Before the NMC process was not fit for purpose some years ago, I religiously kept a long-running diary of all my reflections and training for PREP but was never asked to produce it for inspection. So we have this new system which puts the onus back on practitioners, yet more work for little reward.

Over the past few years, I have been working as an occupational health (OH) specialist and my revalidation date set for the end of March 18.  I have to do reflective practice, obtain feedback from my Manager, or someone else registered as a nurse. I also have to demonstrate practice hours and how I am keeping up to date within my sphere of practice.

Not having any a ‘regular’ job, and focusing my time on this website and writing for the discipline.  I could not see the point of badgering people who are quite willing to sign me up for revalidation and yet have no idea of what I do on a daily basis.

NMC Helpline

On the 1st March 18, I received an email from the NMC to say that as I had failed to revalidate I would be taken off the register.  Although they gave me a final opportunity to upload my documents. If I did it today I might be saved!  Despite this letter, the NMC took out my registration fees (as it was on direct debit). So I phoned the helpline and advised by a helpful person who explained that I could revalidate up until the 31st March (today). She explained that there were lots of ways specialist practitioners could demonstrate competence and that, by the sound of it, I would find a way of remaining a nurse. She advised me to go to the website to see the options.

Of course, I had already done this and had found it really confusing and the tone quite dictatorial. She was empathetic though and I appreciated that. It actually gave me second thoughts. How nice to have someone give you reassurance and guidance in a kind way.  I expect she was a nurse – but who knows.

I was feeling rather shaky about losing my status after so many years of being a nurse. Could I cope?  I discussed the pro’s and cons with my family and some of my peers. The reasoning went like this:

For continuing being a nurse

The reasons for continuing being nurse were:

  • I still am a nurse – a respected and trusted professional
  • Better pay
  • Initials after my name
  • I could take on OH jobs which I couldn’t if I wasn’t a nurse

Against being a nurse

  • Keeping records of my nursing learning experiences (I learn something every day)
  • Expensive costs for revalidation each year
  • Insurance costs each year
  • I did not do clinical work anymore and have not for about eight years
  • I have a Master in Occupational Health and Safety and Environmental Management which makes me competent to give health and safety advice anyway
  • The worry of being ‘struck off’ is always with you
  • I do revalidation and continuing professional development through IOSH (Safety Qualified)
  • I pay IOSH fees

Decision on Revalidation

Construction Guide to Health and Wellbeing
Construction Guide to Health and Wellbeing

Setting out the pro’s and cons like this – it became a no-brainer.  My nursing qualification ceases today and I feel a strange type of liberation, because, at last, I can use my voice and not worry about the impact of what I say on any patients.

Maybe I can’t get the ‘Head of Occupational Health’ jobs anymore, as a nurse, but I can as a safety practitioner.  The thing is, many people ring me and contact me for help. Not as a nurse but as someone who knows the ‘rules’ of say, sickness absence, stress at work, employers liability and where to go for advice.  I advise ordinary people about what their manager can and can’t do by law. And, many fellow practitioners too. I do not charge for this service and I do not usually take names or contact numbers.

I have about 300 people a day visit my website for advice and to download free templates and resources.  My latest book (published February 18) Construction Guide to Health and Wellbeing is available too.  Surely, something like this, which has taken me over a year to write is evidence enough? But no.  I am not special, I keep telling myself.

Really, I can’t see very much changing except I have to negotiate slightly different insurance terms and conditions and, to be honest, I feel safer coming out of the RCN insurance scheme, which has always had some grey areas.

On reflection (see what I have done there) I think the NMC has saved me a lot of money and inconvenience. Yet I wish I hadn’t had to make that choice.  It’s a sad day for me.

See also this article in 2016 which sets out others concerns about the revalidation practice: Retirement or revalidation

Have you doubts about revalidation like me?

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