In this report I will compare the principles of regulation of the NMC and the SSSC. I will discuss the following areas in this report relating them to both my chose care professionals: Professional education, registration and the process of Revalidation, codes of conduct/ethical behaviour, professional boundaries, the framework of clinical governance within the Health & Social Care sector and parameters that occur within professional practice.
In Scotland, to become a fully qualified Nurse with a BSc degree you have to be accepted onto either a three year or four-year degree course depending on your chosen field of nursing. The entry requirements for nursing are generally the same with most universities asking for three Scottish Highers at BBC with National 5 maths and literacy. However, University of Glasgow has the highest entry requirements for year one with five Scottish Highers at AABBB which must include two Higher sciences and both National 5 Chemistry and Maths at a B. There is also another route which you can take if somehow you don’t meet the entry requirements, and this is to study HNC Care and Administrative practice at college for a year passing the graded unit with a minimum of a B for most universities.
In comparison to Nursing, in Scotland to be able to become a fully qualified social worker with a BA Hons degree you must be accepted onto the four-year course. The entry requirements for social work contrast with those for nursing as most universities in Scotland require you to have four Scottish Highers ranging from A to C depending on where you apply, and National 5 maths at different grades is also a requirement for all universities. This is one similarity in terms of entry requirements for both courses as they would like you to have a National 5 maths qualification of some sort. Again, similarly to Nursing you can also gain access to Social Work degree course through the completion of HNC Social Services for one year with most universities requiring the graded unit to be passed at an A.
Registration and the process of Revalidation
To register with the NMC you must display the competences within nursing as well as paying an annual fee of £120 to remain on the register. However, this is different for social workers when registering with the SSSC as they only must pay £80 annually to remain registered with the SSSC and £80 to initially register. Social workers can also be employed before completing their university degree. This is very different from nursing as you must register with the NMC before entering any sort of practice as a nurse. Although both nurses and social workers are similar as they require to pay an annual fee of registration, they differ through their prices. Nurses have to complete the process of revalidation every three years to remain on the NMC register. This process was only recently introduced in April 2016 and it requires a nurse to practice a minimum of 450 hours, undertake 35 hours of CPD training, obtain 5 pieces of practice-related feedback in the 3 year period, to have 5 written reflective accounts in the 3 year period, to have reflective discussion with another NMC registrant going over your 5 written reflective accounts, provide a health and character declaration and to have and practising an appropriate cover under an indemnity arrangement. This is not the case for social workers as it is not mandatory for them to revalidate just to renew their registration every three years paying £160 in total.
Codes of conducts/Ethical behaviour
Nursing and Social work are professions where you as an individual are responsible for the care of vulnerable people. These professions are regulated through codes of conduct which are produced by the NMC and SSSC to ensure that each nurse and social worker provides the correct care and assistance possible for each patient and service user. The purpose of the NMC code is that it represents the professional standards that nurses, and midwives must uphold to be registered to practise in the UK. The NMC Code is designed around four topics which are to prioritise people by putting those who are using nursing and midwifery services first, practise effectively by assessing need and delivering or advising treatment to the best of your ability whilst also communicating effectively having clear and accurate records, preserve safety by making sure that public and patient safety is always protected as well as working within the limits of your competence and utilizing your professional duty of candour and promote professionalism and trus by upholding the reputation of your profession at all times. The SSSC code of practice is like the NMC code in the sense that it sets out direct standards of professional conduct which a social worker must obey within their everyday practice which is the same for nurses. Again, like the NMC code, social workers standards are laid out in sections within the SSSC code of practice defining the quality of work and standards employers and employees must provide whilst in practice. However, health and social care had different care standards until April 2018 when they both now became influenced by the same care standards and principles.
It is a nurse’s duty to outline and maintain professional boundaries within their practices as well as it being their responsibility of being aware of any professional boundaries that have been crossed and of the implications that can be drawn from it. According to the NMC Code (2015) to uphold your position as a registered nurse, midwife or nursing associate to achieve this, you must refuse all but the most trivial gifts, favours or hospitality as accepting them could be interpreted as an attempt to gain preferential treatment. This is similar for social workers as according to the British Association for Social Workers (2009) it is always the responsibility of the social worker to ensure that the relationship remains a professional one and that the service user understands the social worker’s role in their life. Overall, Nurses and Social Workers always must maintain a professional boundary with their patients and service users through declining any gifts or favours, the giving and receiving of any money and importantly to distinguish coherent sexual boundaries.
The Framework of Clinical Governance within the Health ; Social Care sector
Clinical governance is “a system through which NHS organisations are accountable for continuously improving the quality of their services and safeguarding high standards of care by creating an environment in which excellence in clinical care will flourish.” (Scally and Donaldson 1998, p.61). The NHS and SSSC both effectively assess and maintain clinical governance through the Health and Social Care Integration Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act 2014. They do this through constantly observing their employees to guarantee that high standards of care are being provided for every patient and service user. Although clinical governance focuses on patient care, it also targets quality improvements within health and social care, leadership, staff and information focus. However, one significant difference between the NHS and SSSC when it comes to clinical governance is that the NHS has Caldicott Guardians; these are usually senior charge nurses and are responsible for protecting the confidentiality of people’s health and care information and making sure it is used properly.
Parameters that occur within professional practice
In terms of accountability nurses and social workers are each and individually responsible and accountable to the NMC, SSSC and their employers for their own individual actions as well as any students’ actions who are currently under their supervision and provide evidence to support their actions. Nurses and Social workers also must be aware of one’s own limits and abilities when it comes to professional practice. The NMC Code (2008) states the professional commitment to work within one’s competence is a key underpinning principle of the Code which, given the significance of its impact on public protection, should always be upheld. Social workers also must work within their competence. Tell my employer or the appropriate authority about any personal difficulties that might affect my ability to do my job competently and safely and tell the SSSC about anything that may affect my fitness to practise (SSSC 2009).
Professionals must mention to other practitioners only when it will benefit the patients or service users. They should be able to identify and respect the jobs of the other practitioners while working correctly with them providing the best manageable care for patients and service users.
Professional supervision is where skilled supervisors and practitioners are brought together to reflect upon their practice. Someone who is trained to be a professional supervisor will supervise training of some kind and agree that the person is competent enough to perform it. Students will undertake a mentorship during their placements and newly qualified nurses will undertake what is called a preceptorship. NMC Code (2008) states that you must make sure that everyone you delegate tasks to is adequately supervised and supported so they can provide safe and compassionate care. SSSC Codes of practice (2009) says that employers should Provide effective, regular supervision to social service workers and students to support them to develop and improve through reflective practice.