We know that you may be feeling anxious about Covid-19 and the impact that it may have on your role as a registered professional.
We’ve put together this information to keep you informed as the situation progresses.
During the emergency we recognise that there are some factors that may make it difficult for you to complete your revalidation.
Working in line with the Code
As mentioned in our recent joint statement, we recognise that in highly challenging circumstances you may need to depart from established procedures in order to care for patients and people using health and social care services.
Our regulatory standards are designed to be flexible and to provide a framework for decision-making in a wide range of situations.
In line with the Code, use your professional judgment, work with other colleagues across all disciplines to assess risk, and find the best way to provide care for people while recognising and working within the limits of your competence.
We know that nurses, midwives and nursing associates are experienced in dealing with challenging health issues, including infected patients, on a daily basis.
As part of planning preparations, it’s our job to make sure you’re aware that the Code continues to apply. Section 1 explains what you should do to make sure people’s individual needs are recognised, assessed and responded to without undue delay.
It’s also important that you’re supported to take account of your own safety and wellbeing. Your employer is there to help by managing resources effectively and dealing with risk so that that the quality of care or service you provide for people can be maintained.
If you have any concerns that you believe puts you or those you are caring for at increased risk in your workplace, please share these with your manager as soon as possible so they can make sure you’re able to practise safely.
Some professional standards and behaviours, as set out in the Code, that may be particularly helpful to bear in mind at this time include:
- Acting in the best interests of people at all times within the limits of your knowledge and competence.
- Keeping to and promoting recommended practice and guidance in relation to controlling and preventing infection.
- As well as your own safety, taking account of the safety of others and the availability of other options for providing care.
Where a nurse, midwife or nursing associate refuses to agree to a Covid-19 test that will primarily be a matter for their employer to deal with. Depending on the individual circumstances, an employer could decide to take disciplinary action against the nurse, midwife or nursing associate.
However, the NMC’s Code says that nurses, midwives and nursing associates must:
- take all reasonable personal precautions necessary to avoid any potential health risks to colleagues, people receiving care and the public (para 19.4)
- maintain the level of health you need to carry out your professional role (para 20.9)
Refusing to agree to a Covid-19 test could be regarded as a failure to comply with these requirements of the Code, depending on the individual circumstances.
The people on our register are doing extraordinary things in the face of an extraordinary challenge, and some might need more support than ever before. Getting the help you need will help you to care for others.
Several organisations have developed resources to support the mental wellbeing of those working in health or social care – we’ve listed some of these below.
The list isn’t exhaustive. Your employer, university or union may have other resources available for you to use.
- NHS Employers | Support available for NHS staff
- Our NHS people | National mental wellbeing support (also open to those in social care)
- Royal College of Nursing | Coronavirus and your mental wellbeing
- Mind | Coping as a key worker
- Mental Health at Work | Our Frontline
- Royal College of Emergency Medicine | RCEM wellbeing app (for those working in emergency or critical settings)
- British Psychological Society | Guide for managers and leaders of healthcare services
- Office for Students | Supporting student mental health
- Universities UK | Stepchange: mentally healthy universities
- Filipino support service | Call 0300 303 1115 between 7:00 and 23:00, or text at any time (text Frontline to 85258). For Filipino health and care staff who are experiencing bereavement or trauma.
Returning to practice
We’re encouraging those who are currently on the NMC register, but not working in clinical care, to consider coming into clinical practice during this time where it’s appropriate to do so.
The Department of Health in your country will be coordinating this. Follow the links below for more information:
Expanding the nursing and midwifery workforce
We’ve published joint statements with nursing and midwifery leaders on expanding the workforce in the Covid-19 outbreak.
Together, these statements set out the actions we will take during the emergency, including:
- establishing a Covid-19 temporary register for certain groups of people
- introducing a set of emergency programme standards to enable students to use their knowledge and skills appropriately during this time of crisis to support the care of people.
Other information you might find useful
- Department of Health and Social Care | COVID-19: guidance for health professionals
- NHS England and NHS Improvement | Coronavirus guidance for clinicians
- Department of Health and Social Care | Overview of adult social care guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Public Health Scotland | COVID-19 health protection guidance
- Health and Social Care Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland | Health protection guidance
- Public Health Wales | Latest information on coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Information Commissioner’s Office | Information on data protection and coronavirus
- Royal College of Midwives | Coronavirus – what you need to know
- Royal College of Nurses | COVID-19 Information for RCN members