The Principles of nursing practice tell us what patients, colleagues, families and carers can expect from nursing.
Nursing is provided by nursing staff, including ward managers (in hospitals) or team leaders (in the community), specialist nurses, community nurses, health visitors, health care assistants or student nurses.
For further information on the Principles of nursing practice please visit the RCN website:www.rcn.org.uk/nursingprinciples
Principle A: nurses and nursing staff treat everyone in their care with dignity and humanity – they understand their individual needs, show compassion and sensitivity, and provide care in a way that respects all people equally.
Principle B: nurses and nursing staff take responsibility for the care they provide and answer for their own judgments and actions – they carry out these actions in a way that is agreed with their patients, and the families and carers of their patients, and in a way that meets the requirements of their professional bodies and the law.
Principle C: nurses and nursing staff manage risk, are vigilant about risk, and help to keep everyone safe in the places where they receive health care.
Principle D: nurses and nursing staff provide and promote care that puts people at the centre, and involves patients, service users, their families and their carers in decisions to help them make informed choices about their treatment and care.
Principle E: nurses and nursing staff are at the heart of the communication process they assess, record and report on treatment and care, handle information sensitively and confidentially, deal with complaints effectively, and are conscientious in reporting the things they are concerned about.
Principle F: nurses and nursing staff have upto-date knowledge and skills, and use these with intelligence, insight and understanding in line with the needs of each individual in their care.
Principle G: nurses and nursing staff work closely with their own team and with other professionals, making sure patients’ care and treatment is co-ordinated, is of a high standard, and has the best possible outcome for the patient.
Principle H: nurses and nursing staff lead by example, develop themselves and other staff, and influence the way care is given in a manner that is open and responds to individual needs.
Beneficence - to do good
Non-maleficence - to do no harm
Respect for Autonomy
To practice in an ethically sound professional manner it is necessary to balance ethical considerations, with professional values and relevant legislation. The essence of ethical practice at all levels involves an individual, or team identifying what the legal, ethical and professional standards required are and how these can be caring and compassionately applied to the challenges of clinical practice.
Implications for advanced practice:
advanced practice as a higher level of practice requires practitioners to demonstrate expertise and advanced practitioners can sometimes be uncertain about their accountability and responsibility in relation to ethical and legal issues
advanced nursing role generally involves greater leadership, responsibility, autonomy and decision-making
advanced practitioners may also be called upon, or invited, to share their expertise by involvement in developing policies, procedures or guidance which will affect the practice of others
when facilitating learning or being involved in research the advanced practitioner requires to be knowledgeable about specific ethical aspects, requirements or policies specifically related to these areas and be able to give advice