Agency nurses and their permanent counterparts who attended the second Nursing Times Careers Live event in London last week were told not to become anxious about new revalidation requirements, which are now necessary for nurses who wish to continue practising in the NHS.
In her address to delegates, Julie Hamilton, head of nursing for revalidation, regulation and education at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, said that 100 nurses had successfully participated in a revalidation pilot trial last month, adding, “Don’t panic, it is achievable, possible and enjoyable.”
Ms Hamilton made a point of clarifying for temporary nurses contracting through Umbrella Companies and other agencies that more agencies have put processes in place for revalidation and a “confirmer.”
Her talk was designed to allay fears in the profession that the process would be onerous. Delegates also heard from one of the nurses who had completed the revalidation pilot trial. He gave an upbeat account of his experience, explaining that it had allowed him to spend quality time with his manager reflecting on his work. Integrating these reflections into the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC’s) Code had been “a challenge,” he said, but the gist of his feedback was that it was achievable.
A journalist attending the event for the online recruitment industry news source Recruitment International (RI) was told by one delegate that she believed government pay caps for agency staff were making it difficult for agency nurses to obtain NHS work. Several nurses said that this had led them to become concerned about their working future and their professional development.
One of the attendees, Philip Mann, who represented the private health organisation HCA Hospitals, said that his company was seeing rising interest from nurses who were losing confidence about the future of the NHS, with the forthcoming EU referendum adding to the uncertainty. He told the RI journalist: “The NHS are losing out on staff.”
His experiences were mirrored by those of Mike Powers, the director of another exhibitor at the event, Avanti Healthcare Professionals, which recruits nurses internationally to work in the US. Powers confirmed that his company also had seen a surge of interest from nurses in Britain and Europe.