One of the great things about being involved in WeCommunities is the fantastic student leaders we have had join us over the years. Students tend to get involved with “We” and help lead the communities for a short amount of time … but boy do that have a huge impact. The other day I was having a conversation with Joy (@nursingPUNC18) who is a second-year student nurse and one of the fab @WeStudentNurse team and she really made me stop and think. Joy and I were talking about the NMC Code and what it means to us … and days later I find myself reflecting on this still.
I once met a nurse manager who used to test interviewees on the code, he would ask them questions about what does the code state nurses should do to “Make sure that people’s physical, social and psychological needs are assessed and responded to” or what should nurses specifically do to “Cooperate with all investigations and audits” according to the code and he often tutted at the amount of nurses who couldn’t quote the code word for word…. tough interview!!! But is this something that we need to be able to do?? Should we know the NMC Code like The Lords Prayer?? Should we be able to quote the whole code off by heart?? At the risk of being struck off …. I don’t think that this is the point of the NMC Code at all. As a nurse of (ahem) 23 years (OMGoodness!!) , the thought of being able to quote the NMC code verbatim frankly sets my heart beating a bit faster and sends my blood pressure up …. I’m not sure that this is the point of the code .. after all we are nurses not parrots !
For me the code is part common sense and part professional integrity … I think perhaps if you cut me open you would find the NMC Code running through me like the words in a stick of rock … the code is an inherent part of what I do. I understand the code and the four areas of the code, prioritise people, practice effectively, preserve safety, promote professionalism and trust, and what is required of me without knowing what is in it word for word .. and this is ok.
The NMC Code is a document that empowers and supports me as a nurse. I have found that throughout my career whenever I have ever been in any doubt about anything I can refer to the code and either find reassurance or the tools to be able to move forward with problematic situations. The code has been something that has helped me immensely to be the very best nurse that I can be. Part of this is due to the fact that I have always kept a physical copy of the code, something I can refer to easily and can carry about with me if needed. Part of it, in recent years, is due to revalidation and reflective accounts; being able to refer to the part of the code that your reflection appertains to is something that really helped me to get to know the content of the code and what it means to my nursing journey, (for example this reflection would certainly comes under practice effectively specifically maintain the knowledge and skills you need for safe and effective practice and maybe even promotes professionalism and trust, specifically acting as a role model of professional behavior)
Knowing the code for me isn’t about strict attention to every letter and word written in the document itself, instead it’s about knowing what it means to me and my practice, how it can support me, how it can empower me, how it can help me to reflect and most of all how it can help me to be the best nurse for the people I care for. The code doesn’t have to be something I need to be able to quote but it does have to be in everything I do.
Thank you Joy for reminding me of this and for such a wonderful opener to a really worthwhile reflection.