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‘Being a Nurse, the learning doesn’t stop’ – Virginia Allum

Virginia Allum has superpowers. Not only is she SLC’s Head of Medical English, but she also writes Medical English courses, OET test items, trains Medical English and OET teachers, and still practices as a Registered Nurse up in Scotland where she lives. Recently she underwent the revalidation process all UK nurses go through every three years to keep their registration. Here are some of her thoughts on what she experienced.

NMC Revalidation

According to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in the UK:

Revalidation is the process that all nurses and midwives in the UK and nursing associates in England need to follow to maintain their registration with the NMC.

To help you continually develop and reflect on your practice, we ask you to revalidate every three years. This process encourages you to reflect on the role of the Code in your practice and demonstrate that you are ‘living’ the standards set out within it.’


Royal Prince Alfred Hospital RPAH

When I first came across the term ‘revalidation’, I was a bit confused. After all, I was a nurse already. Why did I had to keep proving it? I remember pinning on my graduate nursing badge from the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) after completing my training and thinking that the learning was finished. But, in fact, it had just begun.


The process of revalidation includes ensuring that each nurse or midwife works a minimum of 450 hours over the three-year period, completes the required CPD (Continuing Professional Development) courses and writes five reflective accounts about practice-related topics.

Reflective accounts range from feedback from patients to discussions with colleagues or other healthcare professionals about health-related topics. As the NMC guidance states, reflection should always bring us back to the Code – the ultimate guide of our day-to-day practice.

I’ve just completed my latest revalidation. Some of my reflective pieces related to situations which had occurred during my recent experience on the Vaccination Team of the NHS Western Isles up here in the Scottish islands where I live. In particular, I started to think about my role in the vaccine roll-out in our small community.

While I started thinking of writing these pieces as a bit of a chore, I soon began seeing them as a useful reminder that our nursing practice constantly changes and expands and our skill levels therefore need to develop all the time, and this needs to be reflected on. Such work doesn’t occur in a vacuum. It is no longer a matter of learning for the sake of passing an exam and pinning a badge on my chest, it has become a matter of learning to ensure my patients are well served and my practice is current.

Some reflective pieces can describe situations which we realise could have been handled better, more sensitively or in a less judgemental way. It is only when we reflect that we can change our response the next time. Reflection can also flag areas where more learning may be required. It may also highlight the need to connect with colleagues for support or encouragement.

In summary, I now look forward to gathering more reflective pieces for my next revalidation in three years’ time. And I also look forward to having discussions with colleagues about their reflective pieces.  

Virginias Revalidation