The Nursing and Midwifery Council wants to see patients, colleagues and employers give feedback on performance.
Those deemed not up to scratch face being barred from working, under the plans drawn up by the NMC.
NMC chief executive Jackie Smith said: "We believe that this system will enhance public protection and it will give the public and patients what they have been looking for
"Ensuring that the skills and conduct of nurses and midwives remain up to date throughout their careers is an important area of regulation. Any effective system of revalidation will increase public confidence that nurses and midwives remain capable of safe and effective practice."
Enhancing standards of care
A similar system - albeit carried out every five years - was introduced last year for doctors. The current system of renewal sees nurses declare themselves fit to practise.
The proposals - known as revalidation - for the 670,000 nurses and midwives on the UK register have been under discussion for years.
Following the uproar over standards of care in the wake of the Stafford Hospital scandal the NMC committed itself to coming up with firm proposals. Those proposals will now be discussed at a meeting of the regulator's governing body next week.
Three options are set to be put forward with the favoured one being three-yearly checks involving patient, colleague and employer feedback. The NMC envisages the checks will form part of the appraisal process.
However, it admits that as the system beds down, dedicated roles may need to be created to oversee the revalidation process.
Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said: "I support the introduction of nurse revalidation, particularly in the wake of the Francis report, but recognise that any scheme must be tested to make sure it works for nurses and improves safety and quality of care for patients."