You matter. So, it is important you understand what is expected of you if you want to be a nurse.
Many new individuals who have chosen to prepare to become a nurse have recently started their professional journey. Academic and clinical staff really look forward to helping you to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes you need to be a registered nurse. Along with this comes expectations of you, both as a nurse and as a person. As part of your professional life as a student nurse and future registered nurse, it is very important that you are familiar and conversant with the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) requirements as to your conduct and actions.
Choosing to become a nurse is a big step. Patients and the public truly value the work you will be doing. You will learn about the behaviour and conduct the public expects. It is important that you conduct yourself professionally, at all times, in order to justify the trust, the public places in our professions. Members of the public cannot always see the difference between a student nurse or midwife, and someone who is qualified and registered with the Nursing & Midwifery Council. That is why your conduct is important in upholding the reputation of the professions, both when you are studying and in your personal life. The public has a vested interest in ensuring that future professional practitioners uphold the values and standards of one of the United Kingdom’s (UK) respected health care professions.
How do you meet this expectation? Registered and student nurses all must follow The Code; which is the foundation of good nursing and midwifery practice and a key tool in safeguarding the health and wellbeing of the public and you need to be familiar with it. The pre-registration journey is designed to help you understand the standards required of you, what you must do, and help you to appreciate conduct and behaviour that deviates from the standards expected of you, what you must not do. It is important that you are aware that your behaviour and conduct, both during your programme and in your personal life, may have an impact on your progression on the programme.
Helping you to understand the standards expected of you will give you a strong foundation upon which to base your future professional life and that’s partly the reason why this blog has been developed. Do you want to be a nurse?
Hopefully you are using your directed study time wisely to help you become familiar with our regulatory body and to understand what is expected of you in your professional career. Neophytes to the profession join at a significant point in the life of our nation and the world. Today’s world is both challenging and exciting but also frustrating and sometimes frightening. It is essential that you are appraised of the current facts; from reputable sources, surrounding health and social care to avoid speculation and promote understanding. You are encouraged to read on to learn more about just some of the current issues and publications which you may find valuable and interesting to the expansion of your knowledge base:
Marmot Review 10 Years On 2020 finds that after a decade of austerity the picture has got worse since the publication of the Fair Society Healthy Lives (The Marmot Review) in 2010. The report by health inequalities expert Professor Sir Michael Marmot comes 10 years after he published a review on the growing gap between rich and poor in England and a worrying north / south divide. Key findings of the review are stark. Deprivation is linked to shorter life expectancy; more deprivation = shorter lives. There are marked regional differences in life expectancy particularly among people living in more deprived areas. Increased mortality rates for men and women aged 45-49 – which may be related to a rise in suicide and deaths related to drug and alcohol abuse. Increased child poverty – more than double the percentage of European countries with the lowest child poverty rates. A rise in homelessness with many people not able to afford to lead a healthy life. More communities with multiple forms of deprivation that have persisted for many years with little prospect of change.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) have published a landmark report from into the health and wellbeing of children and young people in the UK. The RCPCH noted that progress in reducing child and adolescent mortality is stalling, a slight rise in infant mortality, reducing smoking during pregnancy has stalled, tackling childhood obesity continues to be a challenge, uptake of vaccinations has fallen. Mental health issues, drug taking and suicide in young people and child poverty have all increased. Progress in reducing smoking during pregnancy has stalled. Arresting the decline in all these areas will rely upon renewing a well-resourced focus on health promotion and prevention; and safeguarding the high-quality provision of universal health services. Prevention really is better than cure.
Concern has been growing since the end of 2019 about the sequela to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China, and in other countries worldwide. You may be concerned about the current situation from both a personal and professional perspective. It is sometimes difficult to analyse the information about such events and determine what robust advice is available to help us understand the consequences and implications of such outbreaks.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has produced have released a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on coronavirus which is free to access and very informative. You may wish to take some time to explore this useful resource. The WHO have also published advice for the public which you may find useful.
Here in the UK extensive planning by Her Majesty’s (HM) Government, including the health and social care system, has taken place over the years for an event like this outbreak. HM Government has a website which directs individuals to the latest information about the situation in the UK, along with guidance for what to do if you think you’re at risk. Take some time to read the current Guidance produced by HM Government for health professionals and non-clinical settings. 3 March 2020 saw the release of the Government’s strategy and action plan for Covid 19. Section 4.48 of the action plan, Mitigate phase – next steps refers to the possibility of bringing nurses out of retirement to help alleviate the pressure on the NHS. Emergency registration will be available for health professionals who have recently left practice so they can be brought in to help contain the infection and administer diagnostic tests. The Prime minister has said that the government will also introduce emergency indemnity coverage for health professionals working through the crisis. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) also has specific advice regarding Covid-19 on its website. The RCN has also written to its members advising hat they are “keeping a watching brief on issues related to requests for retired members to voluntarily return to work and the potential implications this may have for matters such as revalidation, DBS checks and pension entitlements. We are also aware of the potential for specific issues for students should universities close”. The National Health Services (NHS) Staff Council have developed guidance on issues to consider when developing local plans to combat coronavirus and good partnership working. The Nursing & Midwifery Council has issued a joint statement from Chief Executives of statutory regulators of health and care professionals about how regulation will continue in light of Covid-19. HM Government is taking steps to counter disinformation about the Covid 19 outbreak. Reliable information is crucial to the management of this outbreak and it is important that you critically review the evidence which is available to you and that you understand that not everything which appears on the internet or which is shared via social media is true. The internet is a valuable tool, but you can also be misled by its content. You may find HM Government’s SHARE Checklist helpful to you in alerting you to disinformation.
Some sectors of our society, such as homeless individuals, are already facing significant challenges in life. Dealing with chronic underlying health problems when living on the streets is hard enough and Covid-19 is yet another challenge to these vulnerable individuals. What does self-isolation mean when you are street homeless and you may be turned away from shelters because of concerns about maintaining public health? Homeless Link has provided a useful summary of current advice sites for practitioners working with individuals who are homeless.
Do you want to be a nurse? Do you want to make a real difference to the lives of people?
Are you ready for the challenges which real people face?
Your own health and wellbeing is important. The WHO constitution states: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” An important implication of this definition is that mental health is more than just the absence of mental disorders or disabilities. Wellbeing involves individuals realizing their own full potential, coping with the normal stresses of life, being able to work productively and make a contribution to their community.
Your choice to become a nurse is a significant undertaking and maybe you sometimes wonder if you have made the right choice. Universities across the United Kingdom understand that some students experience worries and concerns which they find difficult to discuss with their families, friends or their personal tutor. Universities provide a range of resources to help support students in a variety of circumstances; academic difficulties, managing mental health and well-being issues or the stresses of personal life. Your own health and well-being is important and if you ever need speak to someone, for whatever reason; you need support or someone to listen to your concerns, please seek out the resources provided by your institution. The NHS website provides some useful help if you are feeling stressed, anxious or depressed, or just want to feel happier. Including a useful self-assessment quiz in relation to your mood.
Enjoy your engagement with the people in your care and the demands of the fantastic profession that is nursing. You must always be and do your best; rise to the challenges with which you are faced and have courage to confront that which falls short of the standards you are taught. You must be the tall poppy and stand out from the rest.