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What You Must Know about Appraisals, Reflective Discussions and Confirmation

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As a nurse, you’ll need to go through appraisals, reflective discussions, and confirmation not just to satisfy licensing requirements but to also improve your performance as a health professional. Read on to learn more about these essential processes.

What are appraisals?

Appraisals are an important part of your work life as a nurse. Whether you like it or not, you’ll need to go through these processes to measure your development in the past year, identify the areas where you need improvement, and create personal development for the next 12 months. With the introduction of revalidation in April 2016, appraisals have become even more important since they help nurses prepare for their revalidation and registration renewal.

If you’re an agency nurse, you’re not required to get an appraisal every year. But, just like any other nurse, you do need to undergo reflective discussion and confirmation a few months or weeks before your revalidation date. With this in mind, it makes sense to schedule these processes during your annual appraisal to hit several birds with one stone. Take note, though: your reflective discussion and confirmation should be done within 12 months before your revalidation date. Any sooner than that may raise questions about the relevancy of your revalidation requirements.

What are reflective discussions?

You need to complete at least five reflective pieces as a part of the revalidation process. These pieces should be written within the three years that lead up to your revalidation date.

Your written accounts can be based on your general practice, feedback from your patients or colleagues, and the courses you take for your CPD. You can also relate them to articles that you have read or events that you have attended — as long as these articles or events are relevant to your practice and reflect the four themes of the Code. By writing these accounts, you’ll find it easier to adopt reflective practices and identify the improvements that you can make to your practice.

Once you have completed at least five written accounts, you can undergo the process of reflective discussion. This should be a face-to-face conversation with another healthcare professional who is registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). During this process, you will discuss your written reflections in detail.

When choosing a partner for reflective discussion, you’re not required to select someone who has the same specialism as you and who works with you on a daily basis. However, you are required to fill out the reflective discussion form and obtain your partner’s signature. Doing this will serve as evidence that you’re not professionally isolated and that you interact with others in the healthcare field.

What is the confirmation process?

Before you submit your revalidation application, you’ll need to have a confirmation meeting, which allows you to review the evidence that you have gathered over the past three years. Your confirmation meeting should be with your line manager who may or may not be registered with the NMC. If this isn’t possible, you can have the meeting with a doctor, pharmacist, or any other UK-registered healthcare professional whom you work with.

During your confirmation meeting, make sure to proactively interact with your Confirmer and discuss all the details of your CPD, reflective accounts, and other items in your portfolio. You need to show that you’re dedicated to your practice and have taken accountability for your growth and improvement. You also must demonstrate that you can adapt to changes in the clinical setting.

Of course, don’t forget to complete the NCM appraisal/confirmation form and get the signature of your line manager/Confirmer once your meeting is done. Getting two copies of the form is recommended so you can keep one copy for yourself and include the other in your revalidation application.

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