Enabling professionalism in the profession
By Gemma Raw
Last year, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) launched a new report which clarified the definition of ‘professionalism’ for both nursing practitioners and employers.
The report is vital for all nursing staff to familiarise themselves with, in order to ensure that they are meeting the set standards as required by the nursing Code of Conduct. It also breaks down how employers can provide suitable working environments which put professionalism at the heart of all nursing practice.
If you haven’t read the report since it’s initial launch, then here is a recap to refresh your memory.
The definition of professionalism
The term ‘professionalism’ can mean many things to different people. It can encompass what you look like, how you act and how you care for those in need. Because of this ambiguity, the Nursing and Midwifery Council has established the following definition: Professionalism in nursing and midwifery is realised through purposeful relationships and underpinned by environments that facilitate professional practice. Professional nurses and midwives demonstrate and embrace accountability for their actions.
What does this actually mean in practice?
Well, it’s about ensuring a safe and consistent level of care which leads to effective, person-centred outcomes. In short, for nursing staff, the definition is a reminder that all practice and behaviour should be underpinned by the Code of Conduct.
Enabling professionalism – a checkpoint for employers
In order to maintain professionalism, it's imperative that all employers, whether they are hospitals, care settings, secure units or any other working environment, work hard to support professional behaviour and practice.
Within the report, the NMC has set out five key areas which are required to ensure that employers are supporting and enabling professional nursing and midwifery practice. These are as follows;
Recognise and encourage nursing and midwifery leadership
Encourage autonomous innovative nursing and midwifery practice
Enable positive, inter-professional collaborations
Enable practice learning and development
Provide appropriate resources
Taking responsibility for your own professionalism
As nursing practitioners, it’s important to take responsibility for your own professionalism and duty of care to your patients. As you prepare for revalidation, it’s increasingly important that you can demonstrate how you have continued your learning and development and acted as a role model for others. The NMC believes that all nursing staff needs to work together closely with employers to ensure that there is a supportive environment.
If all nursing staff and employers follow the framework set out in the report, then we can expect to see an opportunity to enhance clinical leadership and an increase in standards of care.
For further reading about what the Nursing and Midwifery Council recommend regarding professionalism, we highly recommend reading the full report, “Enabling professionalism in nursing and midwifery practice”