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I have to confess, when it comes to watching BBC1’s Call the Midwife, I’m a total softy.
Truth known, I can’t sit through one episode without it moving me to tears by some theme or another. It’s fair to say, the programme script leaves no socio-economic stone unturned, and delves right into topics such as human rights, racism, social deprivation, injustice, religion, faith, history and of course professionalism.
On the professional note, it touches on issues such as individualised patient care, confidentiality, adoption, abortion, dignity, death and respect, to list a few.
No matter the subject matter or theme, it’s pretty much guaranteed to leave the viewer heart-warmed come the end of the episode, just before the credits roll. Cue the tissues.
The popular programme will no doubt resonate especially with nurses and midwives of a certain age, however, its theme, subject matter and message are as relevant in health and social care as during the era in which it was set. Being honest, it made me reflect – as any good nurse should – on the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s Code.
Good old fashioned values may be viewed as generally outdated, off-trend and deemed a thing of the past, however, individual patient-centred care, safety, respect, privacy and dignity and kindness are as relevant in any epoch, particularly in the 21st century.
Not totally convinced? Then refresh your memory by taking a few minutes to look closer at the NMC’s Code, after all, it’s what nurses and midwives are expected to work to.
The Code was introduced to provide guidelines and professional standards of practice for nurses and midwives and was updated in 2018 to include nursing associates.
It sets out common standards of conduct and behaviour for those on the register. It provides a clear, consistent and positive message to the public: patients, service users and colleagues, about what they can expect of those who provide nursing or midwifery care. It also serves to safeguard you remember – the ones who deliver care. The Code’s four domains are to prioritise people, practise effectively, preserve safety and promote professionalism and trust.
So is the Code’s topic as relevant and linked to professional healthcare today as in yesteryear? Is there still professionalism in nursing and midwifery? Do you consider yourself this way when you don your uniform and scrubs? When staff numbers are down on the night shift, when you have to stay late to write your patient reports up or the proverbial ‘team’ really isn’t pulling together? Food for thought no doubt, but yes, indeed, it’s as important and relevant today as ever.
So, the next time you go in to work, hold your head high and remember that you are part of a vital, worthy, age-old and modern indispensable profession like no other.
Play your role with the pride and knowledge that you literally do hold patients and clients’ lives and their best interests in your hands and you really can and likely do, make all the difference for them – by standing in the gap as their advocate (advocacy is another story for another day).
You see, demands, pace, technology and times may change, but the basics do not, and that’s a good thing. We are all entitled to safety, respect, compassion, kindness, understanding and competent, proficient and skilled care, indeed, even the most challenging and complex of us.
So when you’ve had a pants day ‘at the office’ or don’t feel like you have the reserves to keep going the extra mile with the studying for further development on your days off, remember that you’re part of a worthy profession, with a role that no one else can fulfil, a role that’s so cool it has its own Code. Nothing else like it, but then, that’s just my opinion.
Enfys Rogers is retired nurse consultant, manager and independent freelance writer