An Introduction To The Code

The Code is a document by the NMC that sets out standards for good practice and behaviour for nurses and midwives as the foundation of good nursing and midwifery practice.

The NMC were set up by the UK government in 2002 to regulate nursing and midwifery in the UK. Their aim is to keep the public safe and enable nurses and midwives to deliver high quality healthcare. Maintaining the standards for education and practice, the NMC set out these standards as good practice guidelines in  ‘The Code’. The Code gives nurses and midwives their standards to practice good care.

The following is an overview of key points from what the NMC say about the Code.

  • It sets out the core standards expected of all registrants regardless of their role/area of work or how or where they are employed
  • it is a key tool in safeguarding the health and wellbeing of the public
  • The NMC created it with the public, patients, carers nurses and midwifes who shared views on what they expect from healthcare professionals.
  • The Code was revised and published on the 29th January 2015 to be effective on 31st March 2015.
  • The code is for everyone who cares about good nursing and midwifery. Including patients and healthcare service users, healthcare professionals themselves and the general public.

The code can be used in many ways:

  • Anyone can use it to provide feedback to nurses and midwives or organisations about care.
  • Nurses and midwives can use it to promote safe and effective practice in their place of work.
  • Organisations should support their staff in upholding the Codes standards as part of providing the quality and safety expected by service users and regulators.
  • Educators can use the Code to help students understand what it means to be a registered professional and how keeping to the Code helps to achieve that.
  • It should be seen by all as a way of reinforcing their professionalism.

The Code has been written with the input of many patients, carers, nurses and midwives. It has four components, which state what good nursing practice should do:

  • Prioritise people,
  • Practise effectively,
  • Preserve safety, and
  • Promote professionalism and trust.

The NMC Code