Karen Bartha addresses myths about the revalidation process, and provides helpful advice on how to prepare for revalidation.

blackwood karen

Read this article to learn more about:

  • how you can prepare ahead of your application for revalidation with the NMC
  • requirements for revalidation

In this article


What is revalidation?

Revalidation is about promoting good practice—enabling nurses and midwives to demonstrate that they practise safely and effectively. It builds on Post-registration education and practice (Prep), with the addition of some new elements designed to encourage nurses and midwives to reflect how they are achieving the standards set out in the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Code.1 For a list of requirements see Box 1 below.

Box 1: Requirements of revalidation2

  • 450 practice hours (or 900 hours if revalidating as both a nurse and midwife)
  • 35 hours of CPD (including 20 hours participatory learning)
  • Five pieces of practice-related feedback
  • Five written reflective accounts
  • Reflective discussion
  • Health and character declarations
  • Professional indemnity arrangement
  • Confirmation.

CPD=continuing professional development.

It has been almost 3 years since revalidation for nurses began, so most registered nurses would have already completed the process. However, some myths persist around revalidation; see box 2 (below) for dispelling the myths about revalidation.3

Box 2: Dispelling the myths about revalidation:3

  • You are not required to upload or send your portfolio/evidence to the NMC
  • It is not essential to have an electronic portfolio
  • You do not have to maintain a clinical role to revalidate
  • Revalidation for nurses is different to revalidation for doctors
  • Revalidation does not replace fitness to practice.

In order to prepare for revalidation you should ensure you know when your renewal date is.1 The NMC will notify you at least 60 days before your application for revalidation is due—either by email if you have set up an NMC online account or by letter sent to your registered address.2 The necessary forms and templates for revalidation, along with completed examples, are available to download from the NMC website.4 The templates for practice hours, continuing professional development (CPD), and feedback are recommended for use; whereas the forms for reflective accounts and discussion are mandatory.4

To support nurses with the revalidation process, the NMC continue to add resources and guidance,5 which includes examples of completed forms with useful written reflective accounts by nurses and midwives who have been through the revalidation process.6

Practice hours

You should have practised for a minimum of 450 hours (or 900 hours if revalidating as both a nurse and midwife) over the 3-year period since you last renewed your registration. These hours should be relevant to your current scope of practice.7

A record of the practice hours you have worked should be maintained in your portfolio until you have reached 450 hours—with the most recent hours being entered first. Practice hours can be described in terms of standard days or weeks. If you have worked in a range of settings, practice hours should be set out separately.2,4

Continuing professional development

As a healthcare professional you are required to keep your knowledge and skills up to date—maintaining a record of this provides evidence of learning and development.8 A minimum of 35 hours of CPD relevant to your area of practice are required for revalidation. This CPD must include at least 20 hours of participatory learning. Participatory learning involves interacting with others: examples include study days, conferences, practice visits, and meetings.2,4

Your record should include:2,4

  • type of CPD, for example, clinical supervision, study day, practice meeting, literature review, practice visit for observation
  • the topic and how it is relevant to your practice
  • date and number of hours (identify if participatory hours)
  • relevance to the NMC Code
  • evidence that CPD has taken place, for example, certificate of attendance (including learning outcomes), copies of publications reviewed, signed document of observation, or peer review.

Guidelines for Nurses can support your CPD by keeping you informed of new guidance, providing you with a directory of clinical guideline summaries, and recording CPD points for you on your account—providing you with a personal record of your non-participatory CPD free of charge. The Guidelines for Nurses CPD tracker automatically tracks summaries and feature articles you have read, and the associated CPD points you have accrued.

Over the 3-year period since you renewed your registration you need to collect five pieces of practice-related feedback—ideally from a variety of sources, such as patients, colleagues, students, management, complaints, serious reviews, or your appraisal. It may be individual feedback or about the team you are working in. Practice-related feedback is being recorded as part of the revalidation process in order to respond to the needs of our service users. You could include notes alongside your feedback explaining how it has improved your practice. Any information should be anonymised. Feedback does not need to be recorded in a formal way.2,4,9

Reflective accounts

You will need to write five reflective accounts in the 3-year period since you renewed your registration. You should reflect on an incident that occurred within your professional practice, an episode of CPD, or some practice-related feedback that you received. Within the account you should describe the incident or event, what you learned or gained from the experience, how it may change or improve your practice, and its relevance to the NMC code. Your accounts should not include any personal data.2,4,10

Reflective discussion

You will need to discuss your five reflective accounts with another NMC-registered nurse or midwife. When the nurse or midwife confirms that they have had this reflective discussion with you, they will need to provide the following information: signature, name, NMC pin, email address, and the date of the discussion.2,4,10

This discussion may provide you with some professional feedback, or even identify developmental needs; it will reduce professional isolation for many community nurses.

Health and character declaration

You will need to declare any cautions or convictions, as you do now, plus state that your health and character is sufficient to allow you to practise both safely and competently.2,11

It is expected that with your current state of health you are able to practise safely and effectively without supervision—after your employer has made any reasonable adjustments. This does not mean that there should be a total absence of any disability or health condition.11

Professional indemnity arrangements

In order to practise and provide care, by law, registered nurses and midwives must have in place an appropriate indemnity arrangement. The indemnity arrangement may be made through your employer, a private insurance policy, or via membership with a professional body. It is your responsibility to ensure that appropriate cover is in place as declaration of your indemnity arrangements are required for revalidation.2,12


You will be required to demonstrate to an appropriate individual that you have met the requirements for revalidation.2,4

For most individuals the person acting as the confirmer will be their immediate line manager—this does not have to be an NMC-registered nurse. Guidance for those providing confirmation can be found on the NMC website.2,13

Box 3: Checklist for revalidation

  • Register with the NMC online
  • Be aware of your renewal date
  • Check you have professional indemnity cover
  • Start to collate evidence: certificates, feedback, record of practice hours
  • Register with Guidelines for Nurses, to receive updates on guidance, view a collection of clinical guideline summaries, and to record your guidance-related CPD
  • Download and complete the NMC mandatory forms for reflective accounts; don’t leave it until your revalidation is due, you could fill in a form after completing some CPD, or following an incident at work
  • Start to think about who you will discuss your reflective accounts with, it must be an NMC-registered nurse or midwife.

NMC=Nursing and Midwifery Council; CPD=continuing professional development.


Revalidation should help to encourage a culture of sharing, reflection, and improvement among nurses and midwives (for a revalidation checklist see Box 3 above). It needs to become a continuous process for us all, as nurses and midwives, to engage with throughout our career.2


  1. Royal College of Nursing. Revalidation. www.rcn.org.uk/professional-development/revalidation (accessed 9 March 2016).
  2. Nursing and Midwifery Council. Revalidation: how to revalidate with the NMC. Requirements for renewing your registration. London: NMC, 2015. Available at: revalidation.nmc.org.uk/download-resources/guidance-and-information (accessed 18 May 2016).
  3. Nursing and Midwifery Council. Revalidation/news: Revalidation myth busting. revalidation.nmc.org.uk/news/mythbusting/index.html (accessed 23 December 2018).
  4. Nursing and Midwifery Council. Revalidation resources: forms and templates. revalidation.nmc.org.uk/download-resources/forms-and-templates/ (accessed 9 March 2016).
  5. Nursing and Midwifery Council. Revalidation/resources: Guidance and information. revalidation.nmc.org.uk/download-resources/guidance-and-information.html (accessed 23 December 2018).
  6. Nursing and Midwifery Council. NMC (2018) Revalidation: Completed forms and templates. www.nmc.org.uk/globalassets/sitedocuments/revalidation/completed-revalidation-forms-and-templates.pdf (accessed 23 December 2018).
  7. Royal College of Nursing. Revalidation requirements: practice hours. www.rcn.org.uk/professional-development/revalidation/practice-hours (accessed 9 March 2016).
  8. Nursing and Midwifery Council. The Code: professional standards of practice behaviour for nurses and midwives. London: NMC, 2016. Available at: www.nmc.org.uk/globalassets/sitedocuments/nmc-publications/nmc-code.pdf
  9. Royal College of Nursing. Revalidation requirements: practice-related feedback. www.rcn.org.uk/professional-development/revalidation/practice-related-feedback (accessed 9 March 2016).
  10. Royal College of Nursing. Revalidation requirements: reflection and reflective discussion. www.rcn.org.uk/professional-development/revalidation/reflection-and-reflective-discussion (accessed 9 March 2016).
  11. Royal College of Nursing. Revalidation requirements: health and character. www.rcn.org.uk/professional-development/revalidation/health-and-character (accessed 9 March 2016).
  12. Royal College of Nursing. Revalidation requirements: professional indemnity arrangements.www.rcn.org.uk/professional-development/revalidation/professional-indemnity-arrangements (accessed 9 March 2016).
  13. Nursing and Midwifery Council. Revalidation: information for confirmers. London: NMC, 2016. Available at: www.nmc.org.uk/globalassets/sitedocuments/revalidation/information-for-confirmers.pdf