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PROFESSIONAL Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)


Registering and re-registering


with the NMC Registration is important for protecting the public and is a legal obligation for all nurses


R


egistration is at the heart of our work at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). We maintain a register of over 670,000 nurses and midwives - the largest register of healthcare professionals in the world. Registration plays a fundamental role in safeguarding the public by ensuring that only


those who reach the NMC’s high standards of education, training and conduct can call themselves nurses. It allows patients and the public to feel safe and confident that only those who continue to reach these standards throughout their careers will be allowed to provide care. Given the vital role of registration in


protecting the public, we were extremely concerned to learn last year that a very small number of nurses were not taking seriously their legal responsibility to maintain their registration when working. It is in the interest of every nurse and


midwife to ensure the integrity of the register. While nurses and midwives may lapse from the register for a variety of legitimate reasons, including pregnancy, retirement or change of career, those who wish to practise, at any level, are personally responsible for maintaining their registration. It is against the law to work as a nurse without being registered


and practices which do not perform the required checks on staff may find themselves facing contract sanctions, with contractor GPs being referred to the General Medical Council. All registered nurses will remember the challenges involved in


completing the rigorous approved programmes which allowed them to register as a nurse. However, once nurses have completed this training the process of actually joining the register is very straightforward. Recently qualified nurses or midwives who have


trained in the UK can register with by simply completing and returning their application form and paying the £76 fee. They will be sent the application form automatically once we


have received their course completion details and a declaration of good character from the higher education institution (HEI) where they qualified. Once we have all the necessary details, registration will be completed within 10 days and the new nurse will receive notification of their unique personal identification number (PIN) and their statement of entry. To rejoin our register after a break, former nurses need to declare that they have completed 750 hours of registered practice in the previous five years and 35 hours of learning activity in the previous three years. Practice can include supervisory, teaching, research and managerial roles as well as providing direct patient care. However, practice hours completed while lapsed or not registered, for example if they have been working as a health care assistant, cannot be counted towards the practice requirement. Nurses who have not completed the


required number of practice hours will need


to undertake an approved return to practice programme before making an application to rejoin the register.


Once they have successfully joined or rejoined


the register all nurses need to keep their registration up-to-date by paying their annual fee and filing their notification of practice form every three years. The most convenient payment option to help nurses avoid accidentally lapsing is to set up a Direct Debit over the telephone or complete a Direct Debit mandate.


RESOURCES Further information on all of these topics is available at www.nmc-uk.org or by calling 020 7333 9333.


22 Nursing in Practice March/April 2012


www.nursinginpractice.com


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