Duty of care and political expectations. Part 3: law and the new code.

Research paper by Suzanne S Fullbrook

Indexed on: 20 Jun '08Published on: 20 Jun '08Published in: British journal of nursing (Mark Allen Publishing)


Current expectations of nurses, in terms of professional standards, are high. These expectations are dictated from Government manifesto literature from 1997-2001, which reveals the stark political agenda and political promises given to the electorate. Traditionally, the 'standard' expected of a professional was defined according to law - to the precedents set down in common law. Case law reveals that the standards expected of professionals may be different to those expected of nurses, as written in political literature. This article explores the definitions as found in the legal and professional literature. The Nursing and Midwifery Council's Code of Professional Conduct will be reviewed, including the new Code (2008), in order to identify the basis for determining standards expected of, and by, nurses practicing in the clinical arena. The suggestion is that the current level of expectation of professional behaviour of nurses may relate more to the political agenda than the legal definition, and this has resulted in nurse confusion.