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NMC emphasises importance of nurse attitude


The attitude and character of nurses have been given equal weight with their clinical skills in revised fitness to practise guidance.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council guidance on when employers should refer nursing staff to the regulator updates advice issued in 2002, placing more emphasis on the personal traits of nurses.

It says: “It’s possible to deliver care that is clinically competent, but uncaring – attitude and character are just as important as competence.”

Nurses should deliver a service that is “capable, safe, knowledgeable, understanding and completely focused on the needs of the people in their care”.

There is also a new section in the guidance on “bad character” to help employers judge whether a nurse is “the right sort of person to be giving people care”.

Examples of bad character traits, which will nearly always have resulted in a serious legal conviction or fine, include downloading illegal material from the internet.

The guidance also says employers must ensure staff have had access to training courses and should normally deal with issues locally before referring anyone to the regulator.

NMC chief executive and registrar Dickon Weir-Hughes said: “Our role is not to punish nurses and midwives. Our role is to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the public from nurses and midwives whose fitness to practise is impaired and whose situation cannot be managed locally.

“This new guide will help employers to identify when they should be referring someone to us for investigation and when they should be managing these issues through their own disciplinary procedures,” said Professor Weir-Hughes.


Readers' comments (10)

  • What the hell? These people will give communist states a run for their money!!

    Oh wait, I'm not towing the party line by saying that, what are you doing with that gun, wait, no, no NOOOOOOoooooo...

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  • I don't see it. 3/4 of my cohort were unfit to practise on this basis. The NMC in it's many mutated forms has been around since the 1950's and they only just worked this out. Maybe they're gonna have to compete to throw people out with the new VBS/ISA body being enacted this summer so they feel the need to set out their stall.

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  • The NMC have completely lost the plot and we as Nurses are paying for them to do so. What do they actually do to support us? Precious little. I understand that while they also do some excellent work in protecting the public from genuinely bad or dangerous practice, more could be done to actually support the vast majority of Nurses who work within the remit of the Code of Conduct. "Downloading illegal material" - I fully support this if someone was found to be in possesion of child pornography but what about peer to peer mp3s? They need to actually sort out their definition here.

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  • If ever attitude needs to be addressed, it is now. Worsening attitudes are unfortunately noticeable - not only in nursing environment but in society in general. It doesn't help a patient's well-being if bad attitudes and bad practices are carried over into the work place. Maybe what is needed is a change of heart and priorities in life

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  • Be warned - don't get out of bed the wrong side , don't ever be upset by anything going on in your life , never give your manager a piece of your mind becuase you are stressed with workload and they haven't been taking any notice, never express how p***ed off you are to anyone at work - never whistleblow or challenge what is going on in your work area - because it will just give a vexatious employer another reason to wreck your career with the complete collusion of the NMC by saying you have a bad attitude

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  • I repeat my comment here on attitude writing for the article below and written before the above article of 13th April appeared.

    Comment on: Strategies needed to tackle negative image of nursing
    Gwenda Davies's comment 9-Apr-2010 2:51 pm

    In addition to the ability to put into practice skills and knowledge learned and developed, attitude and confidence in one's ability and that of others, belief in the work being carried out, and respect and unconditional positive regard for all those with whom one comes into contact is paramount to 'image' even when their ideas or beliefs may be different or come from a different year or school of training. An open mind and willingness to learn from everyone no matter what their level and from patients as well provides a far more motivating environment and higher standars of care from which an 'image' will follow automatically without the introspection that detracts from concentration on the tasks in hand. Rivalry between colleagues of the same and different professions and those junior in years or 'considered junior in rank or lower down in the organisational hierarchy' (an attitude which is hopefully dying out) engenders negative attitudes and consumes precious time and energy which should be used in caring for patients and fostering interpersonal working relationships. Whether patient, ward cleaner, nursing director, doctor, professor or visitor all are entitled to the same level of respect from everyone else. Minds which are open to learning from each other, and that includes everybody one encounters, as well as keeping up to date with new skills and technologies, evolving teaching techniques and methods of appraisal creates positive ttitudes 'images'. If all this really fails then perhaps their is a need for a team of life coaches to come and further drain the financial resources of the NHS. They have a wide range of skills and tools to create new individual, group and corporate 'images', if that is really what is required, from logos, to uniforms, to changes in the attitudes and behaviours of individuals and collectively in the nursing team and even the interdisciplinary team. However, if one is clever enough to qualifiy as a nurse there should be no difficulty in projecting an 'image' of confidence, flexibility, kindness, respectfulness and efficacy and all other qualities contingent to the provision of nursing care of the highest standards. Confident and capable indiviudals have no need to obsess about their image or the impact they have on others or feel any need to put others down to inflate their own self-image. Therefore their minds are free to concentrate fully on their chosen profession and the work they do, and this work involves not only caring for patients and clearing out cupboards but also taking personal responsibility along with everybody else to foster a collegial and efficient workplace and therapeutic environment for their patients.

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  • The NMC should first put its own house in order. I recently made a call from oversees to the NMC I requested to speak with the Manager to clarify registration information given. The manager was rude intimidating and refuse to listen to what was being said. None of the above mention standards was demonstrated by the staff/Manager. When I requested a senior staff to make my complaint known none was given.

    1. Most large organizations monitor all calls, why aren't the NMC's calls monitored.

    2 Where is the transparency in this organization?

    3. Why is there not a contact person at the top to address any member's concerns.

    4. Why we as nurses are accepting such poor service for our fees.

    5. Since it appears that only Parliament can make any changes to NMC. Should we not petiton our MP regarding change

    6. Where is the governance where we are concerned. We paying for a substandard service.

    I am fully aware the NMC has been established for the protection of the public!
    My question, however, is how can you expect from others what you yourself cannot deliver?

    Finally shouldn't we as nurses get together and take a decisive action on what need to be done for a Nursing Council who will respect and appreciate the members?

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  • as I have said before bring back the General Nursing Council and the SRN. We never had all these problems before and nurses were happy to get on with and enjoy their work with feelings of security and failing professional negligence or misconduct one remained on the register for life with almost guaranteed job security. However, to be fair society was far less complex at that time and people had more time for each other and managed to get on better together before the virtual world became reality and before everybody started thinking of themselves, how much they could earn and how many material possessions they could acquire, discard and replace in some strange attempt to affirm their identity try and impress others.

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  • I think Anonymous | 14-Apr-2010 8:58 am has this exactly right. God forbvid any of us ever has a bad day or disagrees with the party line dished out by our managers.

    I am inclined to believe that the vast majority of us got into this profession for all the right reasons, to care for, treat and heal our patients. But at the end of the day we are only human, and from time to time we will feel tired, burned out and stressed, especially with some of the conditions some of us are forced to work with. Does anyone else think that this is yet one more way for the witch hunting NMC to get rid of trouble makers?

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  • I think people shouldn't read too much into the NMC and attitude relates more to "illegal activities" not "questionable activities". In line with acceptable but high societal standards.

    Anything illegal is probably doing someone somewhere some harm and that includes downloading pirated music. However the harm is obviously far greater where child porn is concerned.

    The question of character is related to the fact that if someone is willing to break the law or take risks with drink/drugs whilst driving then the potential danger to patients is greater.

    The NMC is not a warm fluffy give-a-hug nursing social group - it exists to regulate the profession and is a legal body. It has nothing to do with local problems or employer-employee relations - if you want to shout at your line manager then that is a local issue. If you turn up for work drunk then that may become an NMC issue as well.

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