Professional standards of practice and behaviour for nurses, midwives and nursing associates
In the UK, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) regulates the professional standards of practice and behaviour for nurses, midwives and other nursing associates- popularly known as the Code. NMC has a vital role in setting the standards which represent the standards that patients and the general public expect from health professionals.
These standards are what nurses and midwives commit to when joining or renewing their registration with NMC. The professional standards of practice and behaviour are fundamental to being a part of the nursing profession in the UK. The NMC reserves the power to take corporate measures if nurses, midwives and other nursing associates fail to uphold the Code.
Below are the four standards that nurses, midwives, and nursing associates are expected to uphold according to the Code.
- Prioritise People
The interest of the people in need of the services of nurses, midwives, and nursing associates must remain a priority. Hence, people must be set as a priority and treated with the utmost respect. The Code requires nursing professionals to make the care and safety of patients in need of their services their main concerns. The dignity of the patients must be preserved; their needs must be recognised, assessed and responded to.
Other essential parts of prioritising people are to accord them important respects without infringing on their rights. There shouldn’t be any ounce of discrimination towards those who are receiving care, whether old or young, poor or rich, white or black. It can be summarised further as:
- Treat people as individuals and uphold their dignity
- Act in the best interests of people at all times
- Respect people’s right to privacy and confidentiality
- Listen to people and respond to their preferences and concerns
- Practise Effectively
Nursing professionals are required to assess and deliver or advise on treatment or give help without delay. These include both preventative and rehabilitative care based on the best available evidence and to the best of their abilities. Nurses, midwives and nursing associates are to communicate effectively by keeping clear and accurate records.
More so, when reviews and feedback are given, nursing professionals are to reflect on them thoroughly to make amends where necessary. It can be summarised further as:
- Always practise in line with the best available evidence
- Communicate clearly
- Work co-operatively
- Keep clear and accurate records relevant to the practice
- Preserve Safety
According to the Code, nursing professionals are to ensure the safety of patients and as well as the preservation of public safety. They are to work within the limits of their competence, exercise their professional expertise and notifying others immediately whenever they come across situations that threaten the safety of patients and the general public. It can be summarised further as:
- Relevant safety plans appropriate for their practices
- Recognise and work within the limits of their competence
- Act without delay when there are potential risks to patients and public safety
- Promote Professionalism and Trust
Nurses, midwives, and nursing associates are to uphold the reputation of their profession at all times with personal commitment to the standards of practice and behaviour. They are expected to be a model of integrity and leadership for the general public. It can be summarised further as:
- Respond to any complaints from patients professionally
- Provide leadership to preserve people’s safety and well-being
- Fulfil all the registration requirements