Much of the content on our site is available to our registered users only. If you're already registered, just click the 'Log in' button then enter your email address and password.
If you're not already registered on the site, you'll need to do so in order to gain unrestricted access to all our content. There are two types of registration:
1. If you're a current subscriber, you can register for access to our protected content at no additional cost. You'll need your subscription number in order to complete your registration, which is on the polythene wrapper in which your journal is delivered. Click the Register button to begin your registration.
2. If you don't currently subscribe you can do so now by taking out a secure online subscription. Not only will this give you instant access to our protected online content, but you'll also get every issue of Nursing Standard - the UK's best selling nursing journal - delivered straight to your door. Click the Register button to begin your subscription and registration.
The RCN principles of nursing practice are relevant for all nursing staff, writes Tanis Hand
While the RCN principles of nursing practice appear to be directed solely at nurses, they are in fact concerned primarily with nursing and secondarily with nurses. All those involved in nursing care will find them relevant.
Launched in November 2010, the principles are a means of informing the public about the standard of care that patients can expect, as well as clarifying for nursing staff the essential features of good nursing practice.
The principles were developed by a collaboration between the RCN, patients and patient organisations, the Department of Health and the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
The emphasis in contemporary nursing care is often on outcomes and treatment. However, the eight RCN principles describe the standards behind the processes and methods that nursing staff use to achieve predetermined outcomes. of care. They highlight the importance of communication and confidentiality, having up-to-date knowledge and skills, providing co-ordinated care and leading and influencing good practice (see box).
The principles are suitable for sharing with patients, for training and development and also to measure how good-quality nursing processes can affect the outcomes of nursing care.
Looking at some of the principles, we can think about how healthcare assistants (HCAs) and assistant practitioners (APs) could make them work for their practice:
Principle A - nurses and nursing staff should treat everyone in their care with dignity and humanity, understanding their individual needs, showing compassion and sensitivity, and providing care in a way that respects all people equally.
Supporting and preserving the dignity of patients is the most fundamental aspect of nursing care. Simply helping people with their activities of daily living, which forms the basis of most HCAs' and APs' work, provides many opportunities to demonstrate this principle in practice. But HCAs and
APs are also involved in many clinical interventions, and I would argue that every single intervention should be managed compassionately and sensitively.
Principle C - nurses and nursing staff manage risk, are vigilant about risk, and help to keep everyone safe in the places they receive health care.
People in our care are vulnerable, so nursing staff need to look out for them as a routine part of their role. Patient safety is a huge topic, but there are subtle ways in which HCAs and APs can help to manage risk for the patients in their care. HCAs working in a mental health unit, for example, will find the greatest risks are not physical. They may need to support patients in great emotional distress by taking the time to sit and listen to them quietly in a private area. Other HCAs, such as those working in emergency departments, will find they often need to manage the risks presented by other patients who may be violent or distraught.
The RCN is collecting information about how nursing staff are using the principles and how patient care can be improved as a result. Do take time to become familiar with the principles and use them in your practice to help keep patients at the centre of your care.