Patients will be able to judge the nursing care they receive against a set of eight principles published today.
The Principles of Nursing Practice were drawn up by the Royal College of Nursing, the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Department of Health in partnership with patient groups.
The eight principles set out a nurse’s duty to treat patients with dignity and humanity, be vigilant about risk, take responsibility for their actions and maintain up to date knowledge and skills as well as providing patient centred care, communicating with patients and colleagues and working closely with colleagues and other professionals.
Postcards featuring the eight principles will be made available to patients and nurses and can be used to evaluate nursing care.
Launching the Principles at the Chief Nursing Officer’s Summit, health minister Anne Milton said: “The principles lay out the quality of care that nurses should deliver.
“It isn’t just a document; it’s a key part of how we achieve the very best by working together with everyone pulling in the same direction. They will help us all evaluate nursing practice.
“There will be no centrally managed implementation programmes, no demands to use them in certain ways and they won’t be accompanied by a series of targets because we know you are in the best position to know how to use them.”
RCN chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter backed the minister’s assurance that there would be no central diktat.
In a statement he said: “These principles are unique in that they bring together in one place for the public what can be expected from nursing. They are designed to help patients and carers, nursing staff, employers and decision-makers to know exactly what quality nursing care looks like.”
The postcard is supported by a document on the RCN website explaining the principles in more depth.