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Promoting professionalism

06 June 2017

The four chief nursing officers have launched a professionalism framework in nursing and midwifery.

What is professionalism?

Professionalism is ‘characterised by the autonomous evidence-based decision-making by members of an occupation who share the same values and occupation’.

In health visiting, school nursing and community practice, it is ‘realised through purposeful relationships and underpinned by environments that facilitate professional practice’. Professional practitioners ‘demonstrate and embrace accountability for their actions’.

How do you maintain it?

Through the attributes or prerequisites of practice, which are underpinned by the NMC code, and entail being:

  • Accountable (practise effectively)
  • A leader (promote professionalism and trust)
  • An advocate (prioritise people)
  • Competent (preserve safety).

What are the organisational and environmental factors that are crucial in enabling professional practice?

Environments that enable professionalism:

  • Recognise and encourage leadership
  • Encourage autonomous innovative practice
  • Enable positive inter-professional collaboration
  • Enable practice learning and development
  • Provide appropriate resources.

The framework explores how these can be achieved.

What is your responsibility?

The individual practitioner should uphold her or his professional practice through:

  • Learning and developing continuously
  • Being a role model for others
  • lSupporting appropriate service and care environments
  • Enabling person-centred and evidence-informed practice
  • Leading professionally.

The ways these can be realised are described in more detail within the framework.

What does Unite’s lead professional officer Jane Beach think?

‘Professionalism is essential to delivering high-quality, safe and effective care. Particularly welcome is that it highlights professionalism as being linked to the places in which staff work. It is critical that employers provide the systems and conditions in which our members can practise safe care. This is becoming increasingly difficult due to severe under-funding and is something we are having to challenge more and more. It is important too that the NMC remains true to this document when registrants challenge conditions that are putting their professionalism at risk.‘

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