The profession of nursing and midwifery is the secondary professional care support in the healthcare industry and acts as the second most important layer of service to public health in terms of intensive, antenatal, neonatal, postnatal, pre and post-operative care practices. Nurses and midwives worldwide have now become more efficient and are dealing in multifaceted healthcare roles in various areas of practice: direct patient care, management, education, advisory services, policy, research and vice versa to address the advanced challenges looming large over public health. To fulfill all exceeding demands which were made following the competitive nursing practice model, it has now become an obligatory requirement for practitioners to register with their national regulatory body and opt for nurse revalidation and annual appraisal program routines to up keep all essential areas of their service with continued growth and progress.
Importance of nurses in the healthcare environments
Nurses are considered as a major medical support unit aiding the professional doctors, physicians, surgeons and visiting consultants in almost every work settings including: primary care, secondary care, tertiary hospital, public health, care home sector, ambulance service, military, prison, school, charity and welfare health care, policy, education, research, e-health and other domains. It is that reason that their job role in healthcare facility spans over broad range of services from providing hands-on treatment to getting practice-related feedback from patients to reflect upon their practice and strive to further improve their service and skills adds paramount responsibility upon the shoulders of nurses to determine the trend of service delivery towards utmost satisfaction of the public.
Role of NMC in streamlining and upgrading the nursing practice
Since the stakeholders (patients, students, practitioners, service users) involved in the industry started anticipating better reforms and transformation in the nursing and midwifery practice with passage of time, world regulatory bodies including Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) are consistently trying to bring high standards, code of conduct and practice ethics to evolve the general nursing and midwifery practice to next level. In following this mission, NMC had earlier set out the rules and protocols that govern the affairs regarding quality practice, professional development, disciplinary conduct and overall working modules connected with the profession to deliver highly adaptable, conventional and smooth delivery of medical care to patients and service users. The regulator bound every nurse and midwife practicing in United Kingdom to apply for registration with it and strictly declared that those practitioners which were not on its register will not be able to practice as nurse or midwife in any country of kingdom. NMC introduced a well-balanced system in place which started overseeing and managing the matters of registration, nurse revalidation and annual appraisal routines scheduled within specified time frame and certain requirements that features a comprehensive mechanism for the nursing practitioners to follow for registration, practice renewal and annual appraisals.
Nursing and Midwifery Council being the nursing and midwifery regulator for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, it takes the national responsibility to ensure that the practice standards framed by it is met by the nurses and midwives on its register; to protect and safeguard the health and wellbeing of public; to introduce standards of education, training, performance so that practitioners shall maintain their ability and skill to deliver novel healthcare consistently throughout their careers.
NMC guidelines regarding its revised code for nurses and midwives: what practitioners must do?
This year, Nursing and Midwifery Council went through an extensive two-stage consultation on revalidation and the code was used to gather the views of nurses and midwives, employers, patients and the public. This included five stakeholder summits across the UK involving more than 1,000 nurses and midwives, as well as online consultation, events, social media and programme boards involving more than 18,400 practitioners and their organisations (NMC,2014).
NMC stated that all practitioners (nurses and midwives) must comply with sets of standards and behaviour and make them central to their practice, this includes ensuring practice is safe and effective, putting the interests of patients and service users first, and promoting trust through professionalism. The revised code is the key component of NMC’s to several important reports, and will play a crucial role in the regulator’s revalidation process being inaugurated this year. NMC officials privy to the development claim that the revised code is more than a fitness to practice tool but a live document that all nurses and midwives should make central to daily practice.
Anatomy of NMC’s new code – Let’s get familiar with it.
The NMC’s new code states that standards must be upheld by all registrants across all settings and scopes of practice, including by those in leadership, education and research roles, as well as those giving direct care. it can also be used by patients, service users and caters to help them provide feedback, by employers to support staff in upholding the standards, and by educators. The new code will play a pivotal part in the NMC’s roles, including registration, fitness to practice and a revalidation process that is being tested this year as pilot run and is due to be effective from December 31, 2015.
The revised code, after altering and amendments have been laid out in four important themes that envisage all the agenda for improving the framework of standards in nursing and midwifery practice and these are:
1. prioritize People
You put the interests of people using or needing nursing or midwifery services first. You make their care and safety your main concern and make sure that their dignity is preserved and their needs are recognised, assessed and responded to. You make sure that those receiving care are treated with respect, that their rights are upheld and that any discriminatory attitudes and behaviours towards those receiving care are challenged.
2. Practice Effectively
You assess need and deliver or advise on treatment, or give help (including preventative or rehabilitative care) without too much delay and to the best of your abilities, on the basis of the best evidence available and best practice. You communicate effectively, keeping clear and accurate records and sharing skills, knowledge and experience where appropriate. You reflect and act on any feedback you receive to improve your practice.
3. Preserve Safety
You make sure that patient and public safety is protected. You work within the limits of your competence, exercising your professional ‘duty of candour’ and raising concerns immediately whenever you come across situations that put patients or public safety at risk. You take necessary action to deal with any concerns where appropriate.
4. Promote Professionalism and Trust
You uphold the reputation of your profession at all times. You should display a personal commitment to the standards of practice and behaviour set out in the Code. You should be a model of integrity and leadership for others to aspire to. This should lead to trust and confidence in the profession from patients, people receiving care, other healthcare pros and the public.
With the advent of new code, the nurses and midwives must strictly adhere to its clauses and uphold their duty to provide premium services to patients and service users. Summarizing the code it emphasize all registered practitioners to treat people with great compassion and ensure their physical, social and psychological needs are assessed; exercise candour when errors or harm occur; intervene professionally if an emergency occurs outside workplace; follow detailed new standards if they want to raise concern and last but not the least use social media and all other communications with sheer responsibility and care.