Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

New set of principles for nursing care launched


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.

Will you use the principles? Answer our survey on the right side of this page -


Readers' comments (14)

  • I have not read such a load of nonsense for such a long time, that this really is hysterically funny - To think how much time and money (including manpower hours) has been put into something like this, it could have been done by 6th Form students on behalf of the Profession!

    Why do we have a body called the NMC?? Is what is written on this lovely postcard, something that is already written with the Code of Conduct etc??

    Can we get real???

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Too silly for words. how long has it taken the rcn to work out what nurses do and have they communicated their findings to the nmc?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • oh dear! the rcn really have excelled themselves this time? is this all they are paid to do?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Nursing staff are not going to come out looking good! Too little staff for too many patients! Lets see how this one pans out!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • just another lever for nurse bashing

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I am relatively new to this area and it appears to me that as nurses and individuals we should know what good nursing care and practice is.
    However, feedback from service users is always good for service improvement to be aware of both the positive AND negative aspects of individuals experiences.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Feedback is very important but there are positive and negative ways of delivering it which can be very useful and most unhelpful.

    Patients want nurses who are ready to help them and not graduate intellectuals who do not have these skills. Doctors have been trained to do the intellectualising of diseases and disorders and can impart this to nurses. The standard of nursing was far higher when nursing was considered a vocation and not a race to get as many academic certificates and diplomas as possible and more pay. This does not interest or serve very ill patients.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • IT is a constant surprise that we need to be told something that should be inherent to the profession.

    The RCN need to now focus on protecting their members from pay cuts / freezes and job losses. I will be writing to them objecting to their recent increase in fees - I hope others will join in.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "Patients want nurses who are ready to help them and not graduate intellectuals who do not have these skills."

    Well just think how much better nurses are going to be when they have the vocational and intellectual skills. Nurses don't have to be dumb to be good.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • You can be as 'vocational' as you like.

    The standard of care you give is very much dependent on the number of staff on the ward.

    Nurse leaders are ignorant of this and so are politicians......i say ignorant because they are ignoring what they already know.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Show 1020results per page

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.