In every profession, professionals must follow specific rules and regulations. In social health care the same applies where nurses and other professionals within the field such as social workers must observe certain set of principles of regulations. It is important to mention that every profession has its unique set of regulatory principles even when they are in the same discipline. In the UK, Nurses are under the regulation of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). The Scottish Social Services (SSSC) is responsible for regulating and raising standards for social service workers. In this report the content to be discussed entail findings on the principles of regulation for nurses and social workers while comparing and contrast both organisations.
Professional Education and Training
According to the NMC, all nurses are required to complete a nursing programme of education that they approve. In most cases, the minimum entry requirement for nurses is a bachelor’s degree (NMC 2018). After completion of education, every nurse is required to register with NMC upon which the body ensures that the concerned individual meets all the requirements of good health and character. Within the United Kingdom, the Approved Educational Institutions (AEI’s) are responsible for running any form of nursing education. The course takes three years although different routes exist for individuals with prior education (NMC 2018). In all cases, Individuals enrolled within the course are assessed on their ability to offer unbiased information and skills of effective communication. The SSSC encourage education and training which allows social workers to an increased practise and skills while they are employed, social workers must ample their training to remain on the register because their registration is “function based” (SSSC,2011). There are ranges of undergraduate and postgraduate health care programs available in universities across Scotland depending on the line of social work career they wish to join. There is also a flexible degree in social work offered in the Open University (Open University, 2018 p.1). The degree offers individuals a chance to study amid a busy schedule.
Professional Registration and Revalidation
In the UK, professional registration for nurses goes through the NMC. The NMC creates a register for all nursing professionals that qualify to work within the region, ideally, all nurses go through revalidation for them to demonstrate that their skills are up to date and remain fit to practice medicine (NMC 2017). Once registered a nurse may be revalidated or removed from the register. For nurse revalidation to be considered a nurse within the region must have gone through thirty-five of continuing professional development (CPD) in their respective disciplines in a period not less than three years after the last date of previous registration or after joining. Out of the thirty-five hours of CPD, at least twenty hours must have included participatory learning (NMC 2017). Ideally, regulations dictate that all nursing practitioners (NP) maintain detailed records of the CPD they have gone through. Participatory learning includes activities such as participation in extra training programs or workshops. The cost of registration in the United Kingdom currently stands at £120.
Social workers must be registered with the appropriate regulatory body. Every country within the region maintains its register. In Scotland, the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) sets registration for standards of continuing personal development (CPD) and regulation for practice for social workers. According to an article by Samuel (2014) the government maintained that social workers should undergo revalidation after 5 years to ensure that they can continue with their duties. On registration fee, newly qualified social workers are required to pay an application and annual fee of £80 each and a renewal fee of £80 after three years.
Codes of Conduct
The code of conduct is a set of strategies which must be used towards the upkeep of the standards of care. Whilst diverse health professions have discrete code of conduct, but the instructions, morals and resolve are the same. They must uphold the dignity of their clients/patients by putting the interest of the people requiring their services first. Six elements summarise the code of conduct that nurses and social workers should follow to make good professionals. They include care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment (Skills for Care 2018). In all these elements, nurses and social workers should lay a priority on the people they serve, promote safety, and remain professionally competent to carry out their duties. In addition, they are required to promote the virtue of integrity and always treat their clients compassionately with a lot of empathy and care. It is crucial to note that the code of conduct for nurses and social workers is similar as stipulated in a study by Dunworth & Kirwan, (2012). The researchers argued that there exits no difference in values for the two professions since both have a duty of care towards their clients due to their significant lack of power to exercise autonomy.
Ethical Behaviour and Professional Boundaries
The core values of social workers are willingness to help, social justice, respect for humanity, kindness, integrity, and maintaining professional boundaries (BASW 2014). The core concern for all social workers is ensuring that individual basic needs are met with a focus on vulnerable members of the society such as the aged and the unwell. Due to the nature of the work, it is critical that a social worker establishes professional boundaries by establishing rules of contact, portraying professional interpersonal behaviour, avoiding dual relationships, and nurturing non- professional life (Hepworth et al. 2016).
Nurses are required to act ethically as they aim to fulfil their moral duties and responsibilities towards patients. The nursing code of conduct highlights the essentiality of informed consent while addressing the daily issues related to maintaining privacy and confidentiality, promoting good communication with colleagues, efficient performance of duties, avoiding situations with a conflict in interest, and protection of individuals in research (Hanna and Suplee 2012). In addition, due to the nature of the profession, nurses are required to ensure that they do not cross their professional boundaries in this case they are therefore required to observe the critical elements of nurse-patient relationship.
Framework of Care Governance within the Health and Social Care Sector
Clinical care and governance can be described as the promotion of quality health and social care while remaining accountable to the affected individuals, mostly patients through continuous monitoring and assurance. It is important as it leads to the creation of a culture where patients are assured of high-quality care and support while other professionals such as nurses and social workers work towards the fulfilment of this responsibility. In a medical institution, a practical framework of care governance assures everyone on the quality of care, effectiveness, decision- making, planning and delivery of service takes into consideration the needs of patients (RCN 2015). This goes a long way to portray to service users/patients who are the greatest stakeholders that unacceptable care practices are exposed or detected.
In relation to Professional Practice
Nurses are required to act ethically and within the confines of the law due to their accountability to criminal and civil courts. In addition, regulatory bodies closely monitor their actions concerning standards of practice and patient care. In the UK, the NMC closely monitor the conduct of nurses.
According to the law, nurses have a duty of care to ensure that they are performing activities according to their duties without any form of malice. It is essential that nurses act competently and work within their level of competence, they should inform senior nurses in cases where they feel incompetent. Accountability of nurses dictates that they should have the ability to perform their duties and intervene in different roles through delegation and the policies or protocol of an organisation. This also applies to social workers held accountable for the code of governance, social workers should always focus on outcomes, work in clearly defined roles, promote values for the organisation, make informed and transparent decisions and engage with stakeholders to ensure that they are accountable.
Nurses should understand their abilities, they should not handle cases that they feel incompetent to handle. Preferably, such duties should be left to a competent individual with the necessary skills and experience. This applies to social workers who should delegate duties to senior professionals in cases where they feel incompetent. In such cases, a referral to other practitioner is essential to ensure that they do not work outside their professional supervision. Professional supervision is crucial as it offers individuals time to reflect on practice and develop a wider area of their work. It also facilitates extra vision and promotes a significant quality initiative.
In conclusion, it is clear that well laid out principles of regulation guide nurses and social workers. The two professionals are similar in numerous aspects since they involve dealing with vulnerable and the aging population in the United Kingdom. Nonetheless, nurses go through vigorous training and education due to their scope of work compared to social workers. However, the two professions are guided, registered and revalidated by different organisations and professional bodies including NMC and SSSC.
BASW, 2014. The Code of Ethics for Social Work. (Online)
Available at: https://www.basw.co.uk/about-basw/code-ethics
(Accessed 25 September 2018)
Dunworth, M. and Kirwan, P., 2012. Do nurses and social workers have different values? An exploratory study of the care for older people. Journal of interprofessional care, 26(3), pp.226-231.
Hanna, A.F. and Suplee, PD., 2012. Don’t cross the line: Respecting professional boundaries. Nursing2018, 42(9), pp.40-47
Hepworth, D.H., Roone, R.H, G.D. and Strom-Gottfried, K., 2016. Empowerment series: Direct social work practice: Theory and skills. Nelson Education.
NMC, 2017. Continuing Professional Development. (Online)
Available at: http://revalidation.nmc.org.uk/what-you-need-to-do/continuing-professional-development
(Accessed 25 September 2018).
NMC, 2015. Read the Code Online. (Online)
Available at: https://www.nmc.org.uk/standards/code/read-the-code-online/
(Accessed 6 September 2018)
NMC, 2018. Becoming a nurse: How to become a nurse and find a course in the UK. (Online)
(Accessed 9 September 2018).
Open University. (2018). Social Care and Social Work Qualifications in Scotland. (Online)
Available at: http://www.open.ac.uk/choose/ou/care-hub-sco-b2c
(Accessed 23 September 2018)
RCN, 2015. RCN integration briefing 2: Clinical and care governance in an integrated world.
Available at: https://www.shetland.gov.uk/Health_Social_Care_Integration/documents/RCNintegrationbriefing-clinicalandcaregovernancev1.0.pdf
(Accessed 25 September 2018)
Samuel, M., 2014. Social workers must face regular quality checks to remain in practice, says government review. (Online)
Available at: http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2014/02/27/social-workers-must-face-regular-quality-checks-remain-practice-says-government-review/#.Uw8f6vl_t0o
SkillsforCare, 2018. 6Cs in social care. (Online)
Available at: https://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/Standards-legislation/6Cs-in-social-care/6Cs-in-social-care.aspx
(Accessed 25 September 2018)