Posted by: ayrshirehealth | June 17, 2015

I’m still learning by @angela_oneill1

“I’m still learning……”

The last time I chatted on this blog it was Christmas Eve and we were well into the throes of what was a very happy but busy time of the year for us all. FMcQ-9Now the festivities are well and truly over and once again we find ourselves in another busy time of the year but for very different reasons – in a blink of an eye May has past us by and it’s now June – and of course, that means the season of the dreaded exams.

ScholarshipIf, like me, you are the parent of a 16/17 year old you will know that feeling as the ‘Highers’ get nearer and nearer and how our youngsters long for them to be ‘all over’; for life to return to normal and for spare time to be spent having fun instead of studying and trying to avoid the moments of shear panic… well as we have now left May behind their dream is just about to become a reality…………. or is it?

It will of course be the case for a few weeks as they relax and wind down but having been engrossed in my son’s study schedule and trying hard not to upset him too much at this difficult time, it has got me thinking about my own education and training and more specifically about that of the wider nursing profession.

Through the years…..  

During my years as a nurse we have gone from being a profession which required us to pass first and final exams to obtain entry onto the register, to diploma and most recently degree status – this has been a stepwise change for the profession and there is no doubt that this has facilitated and promoted our development as an evidence based profession, committed to research, in its own right. RegisterWe, the nurses who make up the profession have grown with these changes with learning and education being at the core of not only our headline achievements but at the heart of our day to day practice.

Our daily experiences and associated learning have been embedded in may different ways with examples such as the introduction of daily ‘safety huddles’ and ‘surgical pauses’ demonstrating that the team approach to continuous improvement cannot be underestimated – sharing the learning for improvement at the point of delivery leads to better outcomes for our patients, builds confidence and helps us to deliver the best possible care, to every patient, every time.

Revalidation and reflection…….

For nurses, revalidation and what that means for us as both individuals and as part of the wider profession, is the ‘only game in town’ at the moment. whatisrevalidation-1

As of April 2016, every registered nurse and midwife, no matter their field of practice, will be required to demonstrate to the NMC, on a three yearly basis, that they continue to remain fit to practise.

This will replace the PREP (Post Registration Education and Practise) standards and self-declaration that is currently required to maintain registration with the NMC.

The Code 2015Once again we are experiencing a stepwise change for improvement with our requirement for continuous professional development being crucial to remaining on the register.

There are many amongst us who will argue that this has always been the case but for the first time we are being asked to truly evidence, by way of independant confirmation, our ongoing learning and development.

It will require us to demonstrate that, as individuals, we have reflected on our experiences in line with the ‘the Code: Professional Standards of Practice and Behaviour for Nurses and Midwives’, drawing out our learning and ensuring that we contribute to the wider promotion of professionalism amongst nurses and midwives.

Teaching an old dog new tricks…….

As I considered this period of change and what revalidation means for the profession and for me as a nurse, I quickly became aware that I needed to better understand ways of demonstrating my own reflection and learning – how could I compile this in a meaningful way that could be shared with my ‘confirmer’ and with the NMC? – it had to be better than my current diary of reflections and needed to provide some structure to my preparation. eportfolio

Fortunately the answer was easy and it rapidly became clear to me that I would benefit considerably from starting and maintaining an ‘eportfolio’.  If like me, this is new to you, it is an electronic, but most importantly, easy way to gather and store information in one place throughout your career.

So in the spirit of continuous learning and development I was delighted that Gordon Hay, NES Practice Educator was able to spend 30 minutes teaching me the basics of how this works – and yes – it is easy and I have now registered to obtain my own eportfolio – you can find more out more about it at

Education and training never stops

Given our desire to always deliver the very best care, to do the right thing for our patients, and ultimately protect the public, I think that it would be fair to say that our education and training never stops, it is never really over and every day we are on a journey of exploring, learning, and importantly reflection.

Now, how do I break this wonderful news to my son? Perhaps I’ll wait a few weeks…….

This week’s blog was by @angela_o’neill1 (Angela O’Neill), Associate Nurse Director – Acute Services, NHS Ayrshire & Arran

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