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Personal reflection: A midwifery educator's revalidation experience

02 October 2016
Volume 24 · Issue 10


Elinor Clarke is a registered midwife, who works at Coventry University as a senior lecturer in midwifery. She successfully revalidated in April 2016.

As of April 2016, midwives and nurses at all levels are required to undergo revalidation with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). The overall process is explained on the NMC website, but differs depending on the specific role of the individual. This article outlines the personal experience of a midwifery educator who revalidated this year, including tips for simplifying the revalidation process.

Revalidation is the formal communication with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to demonstrate that one has met the standards prescribed for revalidation as a midwife. Smart's (2016) top tip for revalidation with the NMC was to be organised about it. My own top tip for midwifery educators going through revalidation is to ensure that you have all relevant information to hand (e.g. compliments, positive accolades, publications) so that you can support your claims regarding student satisfaction, student achievements or personal development.

NMC revalidation: My experience

Once I had gone online, looked at the NMC website ( and registered my revalidation account, I realised that revalidation was similar to my annual review with my supervisor of midwives: update, reflection, discussion, action plan and review. This view is shared by Craig (2016). As a university employee, I have access to an electronic portfolio, which I have updated and maintained. The use of an electronic portfolio also demonstrates that I support the aims of the NHS to go paperless.

The process is not daunting, difficult or demanding. It builds on the previous system of PREP and presents you with an opportunity to ‘renew’ your status and feel proud to be a midwife. The revalidation requirements are identified as (NMC, 2016a):

  • 450 practice hours (or 450 midwifery hours +450 nursing hours = 900 hours in total, if revalidating as both nurse and midwife)
  • 35 hours of continuing professional dev elopment, of which at least 20 must include participatory learning
  • Five pieces of practice-related feedback to be used to prepare five reflective accounts
  • Professional reflective discussion
  • Evidence of indemnity arrangement
  • Health and character declaration
  • A confirmation completed by a confirmer (NMC, 2016b).
  • All of these requirements can be completed online at the NMC's revalidation website.


    To be ready for NMC revalidation, a midwife needs to have good reflective skills. Models of reflection (De Bono, 1956; Gibbs, 1988; Driscoll, 2007) are commonly used in educational environments. Students are encouraged to utilise a variety of these models to undertake both clinical and midwifery practice evaluations. The NMC (2016a) reflective model is different in that the final section requires midwives to cite the relevant sections of the NMC (2015)Code. Putting together five written reflections during a 3-year period is easily managed if you make a habit of writing a reflection, perhaps three alongside your new year resolutions each year, and two more can be written after a developmental activity or attendance at a study day or conference. The key is to consider what your contribution was. For example, at some conferences I presented a paper, while at others I asked questions of a panel or contributed to group work. Remember that participation and engagement are different from simply attending and listening.

    As a midwifery educationalist I regularly provide feedback to students (on their academic work, clinical skills, assessments and reflections)— but who provided me with feedback? In the build up to the revalidation, I became guilty of asking for feedback from colleagues, students, managers and women accessing the maternity services. I received verbal, written and some material feedback (e.g. chocolates and flowers). Affirmations were also noted and used to inform my reflections. Sometimes the feedback was critical (e.g. students might suggest that they did not like the mark given), and sometimes it was constructive (for example: ‘Ah, I see now—can you also help me with…?’).

    I found the process of revalidation itself quite easy: the NMC has provided guidelines and examples to follow. It also felt meaningful: at every stage of the process, I found myself thinking and debating with my confirmer the value of the activity and actions.


    Revalidation has been introduced for all NMC registrants. It replaces the previous system of PREP and is intended to ensure that current nurses and midwives are not only fit for purpose and practice but that they are able to demonstrate the values and principles set out in the Code in a variety of settings, including midwifery education.

    The NMC Code sets out the standards of practice and the revalidation process ensures that nurses and midwives are clear regarding these standards, and demonstrate them in an effective and professional way. As a registered practitioner who cares about good-quality nursing and midwifery, I am confident that registration using NMC revalidation is a reliable method of contributing to the protection and safety of the women and families in our care.

    Effective midwifery practice requires midwives to demonstrate, uphold and maintain the standards set out in the NMC Code. Revalidation provides an opportunity for nurses and midwives to cooperate with their regulatory body, keep clear and accurate records relevant to midwifery (educational) practice and to recognise and work within the limits of competence.

    Dual registration

    Revalidation has heightened awareness of health professionals and the regulatory body to the issues regarding dual registration and the potential of ‘double accounting’. Registered midwives who have also qualified as a nurse are not able to use midwifery practice hours for validation of nursing practice. The 450 practice hours must be identifiable as meeting the standards for each registration (i.e. 450 + 450). Student midwives who are undertaking the shortened midwifery course (owing to their registration as an adult nurse) may be due to revalidate as a nurse while working as a student midwife. The student needs to be able to demonstrate that the NMC adult nursing registration is valid/live at the point of commencing the midwifery course. If during the midwifery course, nurse registration requires revalidation, the student cannot use the shortened course for revalidation of a nursing registration.


    I am not the first midwife to go through the NMC revalidation process, but I was the first midwifery lecturer in the higher education institution in which I work to do so. I am glad that NMC revalidation is clear and straightforward. I am proud to be a registered midwife and feel that revalidation is a ‘smart’ (Gopee and Galloway, 2013) way of demonstrating that the NMC (2015)Code is reflected in the daily work of a midwifery educationalist.

    The role of the confirmer is significant in the revalidation process. A good confirmer is prepared, prioritises you and is professional in the process. My experience has been a positive one; it was important that my confirmer not only understood midwifery but was able to promote professionalism and trust in midwifery education. The process of revalidation enables midwives to stay up to date, share, reflect and improve their professional practice.