Health visitors, school nurses and public health nurses are concerned that they have not been given enough information about revalidation.
In a survey of 1100 community nurses carried out by the Unite/Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association (CPHVA), less than half (48%) believed that revalidation will improve public confidence in how the public is protected.
The survey also showed that just over a quarter (27 %) are confident that they know what the revalidation process involves and more than two-thirds (68 %) felt that they had not been given enough information.
Fifty-seven per cent said that they were anxious about finding the time to complete the revalidation process and 27 % were concerned about making errors. The nurses surveyed also raised concerns about being able to make extra time as they already had to manage heavy workloads. Just 37 % felt confident that they would be supported by their workplace, while they undertake necessary steps for revalidation.
Unite lead professional officer Obi Amadi said that the revalidation process, which has just completed its pilot stage, was a 'wake up' call for NHS employers to provide community nurses with the support and training to help engage with the revalidation requirements.
She said: 'Change, even when welcomed, still creates a certain level of anxiety and apprehension. This is understandable, but if registrants act now and prepare at a steady pace, the impact will be less.Nobody can deny it will take extra time, but our advice is to start early. If you do nothing else now in preparation, make sure you register with NMC online.'
An NMC spokesperson said: 'We have been testing revalidation through a pilot programme, consisting of 19 sites and organisations across the UK. The pilots included Unite and individuals who work in community settings. Over 2100 participants completed the full revalidation process. We are now analysing the results and early indicators suggest that people found the process quite straightforward.
'Some people may feel anxious about the introduction of a new system, and that's understandable. We have already started publishing a comprehensive range of materials to support both nurses and midwives, and their employers, through the process.'
The NMC also recommends that nurses sign up online to find out their renewal date and to read the provisional guidance which sets out what is required in order to revalidate.
Previously NMC registrants were able to self-validate by ticking the appropriate boxes to say they were 'fit to practice'.When the new process comes in, in April 2016, nurses will have to revalidate every three years in order to remain on the NMC register. This is a compulsory requirement if they wish to maintain registration.