Principles of Professional Practice
HNC Class B
Lecturer Carol Menzies
This report shall be about comparing and contrasting the principles of regulations for a Registered Nurse and a Social Worker.
Aims and Overviews
Nurses are there to help individuals recover from illness, to regain health, prevent diseases and to help patients cope with ongoing medical care. Nurses play significant roles in hospitals, private medical practices and clinics. They are there to maintain health and quality of life. The Nurses Principles of Professional Practice describe what patients, colleagues, families and carers can expect from nursing. The principles are there to assist with the care of patients, nursing and staff. The nurses take responsibility for the care they provide and are accountable by law to know when to take on a job delegated to them by another staff member. The NMC (published 29 January 2015) states Nurses have a duty of care and a legal liability with regards to the patient.
It is a legal requirement for nurses and midwives to have an indemnity arrangement to be registered with NMC, this is a mandatory requirement of the code (NMC 2015). This is an insurance policy that all nurses must have to practice nursing in this country.
Social workers are employed to support individuals and their families through difficult times. They are there to improve outcomes in people’s lives and to ensure that vulnerable people including adults and children are safe guarded from harm. Social Workers need to recognise individual differences, listen to people, respecting dignity and privacy and help the service user make informed choices. The SSSC (1 November 2016) include Social Workers principles which follow Nine principles of Public Life and they are responsible for upholding your professionalism, promoting and protecting the health of those in care, listening to people, respecting dignity and privacy as well as registering people who work in social services and regulating their education and training.
With each profession following a set of principles, they both show similar values when it comes to caring for a patient although worded differently. The nursing principles are more in depth. Comparing both these professions Nurses and Social Workers both want to help people. Social workers help people through many life challenges some of which are not medical related. Nursing is primarily involved in the health outcomes of a patient.
Professional Education and Registration
Adult nursing course based at University of the West of Scotland (UWS) is a three-year full-time course which is 50% work-based learning. The entry requirements onto this course are Scottish Higher BBC (or BC plus UWS ‘First Steps into Nursing’). SQA HNC, Care and Administrative Practice preferred although any HNC will be considered plus Math’s at Nat 5.
The award for completing this course will be BSc (Bachelor of Science). This qualification can allow the graduate to register with the regulatory body NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council) as a Registered Nurse. This is a code which contains professional standards that registered Nurses and Midwifes must uphold. The registration fee upon completion of University will be £120 per year. Every three years nurses need to re-new their registration by revalidating.
Social worker course based at UWS is a four-year full-time course which will apply a four years academic learning via 200 days practice learning. The entry requirements for this course are Scottish Higher BBBB or equivalent. Scottish wider access program: Access to Humanities AAB with Higher English or Comm4 and Literature1or SQA HNC: Social Sciences or Social Care or Social Studies or relevant discipline (for SQA awards with Grade B in Graded Unit).
The award upon completion of this course would be BA(Hons). This is an Honors Degree in Social Work and would therefore be able to register with their regulatory body called Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC 2016) which is a code that sets clear standards that a social worker must meet and uphold. The registration fee for this is £80 per year and Social Workers must re-register every three years.
Comparing these professions, a student is required to attend University and fully complete the course. The difference between both courses would be a social worker student must have four higher grades for entry requirements and course is four years long compared to Nurses three-year course with three higher grade entry requirements. (University of West of Scotland 2018), (NMC registration), (SSSC registration).
The Codes of Conduct
Social Workers and Nurses both take care of vulnerable people and are regulated by codes of conduct to ensure the patient or service user are receiving the best possible care.
The SSSC – Codes of Practice for Social Service Workers set standards of professional conduct and practice that Social Service Workers and Employers must meet in everyday work. The code comes in two parts one for employers of Social Service Workers where the employer is accountable for making sure their workforce is confident, skilled and trustworthy. The second part is for Social Workers to make sure they uphold the standards and reflect this on their practice of work and help to continually improve. The code is important as it helps to improve and regulate the quality of care people are receiving when using Social Services in Scotland. Service users can rely on their trusted skilled professionalism to promote independence while protecting them as much as possible from harm or danger. (SSSC 2016)
NMC – Professional Standards of Practice and Behaviour for Nurses and Midwifes. This code contains the professional standards that nurses and midwives must uphold. These standards are expected not only from healthcare professionals but also what the public expect the professionals to maintain. The service users and patients must be able to trust in nurses to provide a high standard of care, to uphold their professional reputation, be approachable and to always make the care of the patient their first and primary concern. (NMC 2015)
In both professions there is a duty of care and a legal liability to the patient. If an activity is given to a Nurse or Social Worker each must ensure that it has been delegated appropriately. Nurses and Social Workers must both be responsible for knowing their own abilities and limitations. Each profession must seek assistance from their employer if a task delegated to them will not be in the best interests of the service user’s safety and care.
‘Be accountable for your decisions to delegate tasks and duties to other people’. (NMC 2015 Code 11)
‘As a Social Service Worker, I am accountable for the quality of my work and will take responsibility for maintaining and improving my knowledge and skills’. (SSSC 2016 – Part two Code 6)
Social Workers and Nurses are all legally accountable for their actions when it comes to their decision making and practice. Not only are they accountable to their employer but also to the students under their supervision.
“Be open and candid with all service users about all aspects of care and treatment, including when any mistakes or harm have taken place.’ (NMC Code 14, 2015 – see appendix 1)
‘As a social worker, I must promote the independence of people who use services while protecting them, as far as possible, from danger and harm.’ (SSSC part two code 3 2016 – see appendix 2).
Both professions must meet the required standards of practice, abiding by the law in a safe and effective manner.
Supervision and Mentoring
The role of a supervisor is to oversee training and to make sure the employee is competent in their task. Even when the care service is under staffed and overworked supervision is a vital component of care.
‘You can be assured that staff and volunteers are properly supervised and appraised and have access to advice and support.’ (NCS April 2017
CPD – Continual Professional Development
Both these professions expect the same high standards when it comes to training and education. It is essential for both to keep a record of their training throughout their careers. In nursing you must undertake 35 hours of continued professional development relevant to their practice of work, this must be taken within three-year period before revalidation of registration. Of the 35 hours at least 20 hours must include participatory learning. Nurses must maintain records of CPD. A description of the topic, the CPD method, number of hours, identification of part of code and evidence that you undertook the CPD activity. (NMC 2015)
Social Workers are required to complete 15 days of study, training courses seminars, teaching or other activities and the same is required in which you keep records and certificates of all that have been completed. (SSSC 2016)
Comparing CPD both professions must undertake training and further education, the differences between these professions is a Nurse must complete 35 hours and Social Workers must complete 15 days.
Clinical Governance is a framework of codes which achieve the best care possible for everyone in Scotland. NMC and SSSC organisations are accountable to clinical governance to ensure their employees set high standards of care. Clinical Governance not only focuses on patients but also the quality of leadership, staff focus, up-to-date information and improvements. In April 2018 new Health and Social Care Standards were appointed for health, social care and social work services in Scotland. These standards were taken into account in Scotland by the Care Inspectorate and Healthcare Improvement Scotland. Both these organisations are responsible for the registration of Health Care Services and Inspections.
Ethical Issue and Professional Boundaries
Nurses and Social Workers face Ethical Issues in their everyday working life and are educated to understand these. These professionals must make sure never to judge other people’s morals, beliefs, religion or individual choices. Nurses and Social Workers need to understand and abide by laws and learn to adapt to values. Professionals must have an understanding of social diversity, disability, mental health, race and colour