Category Archives: NMC

Nursing student using social media? You’ve been warned…

Social media can be a really useful tool as a healthcare professional – as obvious evidence you’re reading this because of social media. But, as a nursing student your are no longer simply a member of the public. While any member of the public ought to be careful of what they post on social media sites, you are now entering a profession and society (and your future employers) expects high standards of you, as does the organisation that decides whether or not you may call yourself a nurse, the NMC. As it happens, the NMC has published guidance on social networking – worth a read, and please follow the guidance – nurses have been suspended from their jobs because of what they posted on-line – see below.

guidance on social media

Don’t let patients see how you behave ‘off-stage’

For examples of where things can go wrong, read this article which includes a story of doctors and nurses who were suspended after posting inappropriate pictures of themselves on Facebook. What do you think of this? Have you posted anything on-line, whether text or pictures, that the public, your future patients and employers, might have access to? Would you be happy for them to see you like that? If the answer’s no, do something about it.

I have to say that I can understand why the doctors and nurses mentioned above were having a bit of fun at work, as caring for patients in the NHS can be stressful and outlets for that stress are important. But don’t, whatever you do, share what could be considered unprofessional or unbecoming behaviour with the world! Patients need to be confident that when they are at their most vulnerable, they will be looked after by competent professionals – this makes them feel safe.

Remember Goffman’s theory of impression management (Lewin and Reeves, 2011) from Fundamental Communication Skills? Did you think, why on earth do I need to know this?! Well, here’s why. If you consider how you ought to behave in different contexts it’s useful to think of yourself as a actor performing various roles. When ‘front-stage’ you are performing your role as a nurse in your clinical area and must act professionally, especially in front of patients. When ‘back-stage’, for example in the staff room, it is acceptable to be more informal, but preparing for your front-stage performance. When you finish your shift you are now ‘off-stage’ – this is the time to let your hair down, and not before! But, also, consider how you might act should you meet a former patient while you’re in the pub…(it does happen!)

So, as I said above, nursing student using social media? You’ve been warned…


Lewin, S., and Reeves, S., 2011. Enacting ‘team’ and ‘teamwork’: using Goffman’s  theory of impression management to illuminate interprofessional collaboration on hospital wards. Social Science and Medicine [online] 72,1595-1602

Raising concerns when you’re in placement: you’re protected by legislation

How to raise concerns about care

Student nurses and midwives are now protected by legislation if they raise concerns about care. To reflect these changes, the NMC has updated their guidance for nurses and midwives on how to raise concerns. Students in practice settings as part of their education programmes now have the same protection as qualified nurses and midwives.

Jackie Smith, Chief Executive and Registrar, said: “Nursing and midwifery students are just as likely as registered nurses and midwives to witness poor practice and raise concerns in the interests of patients. This is good for public protection. We are very pleased that students, nurses and midwives now have the same level of protection when they raise concerns”.

Watch this short video where the inspirational nurse Helene Donnelly (whistle-blower in the Mid-Staffordshire scandal) launches Raising Concerns:

The NMC Code is clear about the responsibility of nurses and midwives to raise concerns about patient safety and act on concerns raised to them. If you have concerns about poor practice while you’re on placement (BU Students), remember to use the BU Placement Concerns Protocol.

Much of the above text  was adapted from the NMC electronic newsletter:  15th April 2015.

What is revalidation all about?

The NMC is introducing revalidation early in 2016 and while this will not affect you if you are currently a nursing student, it certainly will once you qualify. It is worth spending a few minutes watching this video produced by the RCN to find out what revalidation will mean for you – the message seems to be, the sooner you prepare, the less onerous (painful?!) it will seem…



New NMC Code effective from today

The revised NMC Code has arrived and replaces the previous Code (2008) as of today. If you want to find out what’s changed in the new version, click here.

revised nmc code

In relation to this change the NMC stated the following in their newsletter*: “The Code contains the professional standards that nurses and midwives must uphold. They are the standards shown every day by good nurses and midwives across the UK and the Code should be seen as a way of reinforcing their professionalism. The Code will be a focus for professional reflection during revalidation, which will be introduced in December 2015.

What’s in the Code?

The Code has been developed with the input of many nurses, midwives, patients and carers. It is shaped around four themes, which together show what good nursing and midwifery practice looks like:

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

The new Code reflects changes in healthcare and society since the previous Code was published in 2008, as well as public expectations of care. It includes new requirements on:

  • Fundamentals of care
  • The duty of candour
  • Raising concerns
  • Delegation and accountability
  • The professional duty to take action in an emergency
  • Social media use

The revised Code will sit alongside new guidance on the duty of candour and social media, which we are publishing in late March, as well as our existing guidance on raising concerns”.

*Electronic newsletter sent on 29th January 2015. Click here to go to the NMC website and sign-up for NMC newsletters.