Principles of Regulation for Professional Practice

Explain the principles of regulation from professional practice.

This essay will explain the principles of regulation for professional practice.  The essay will refer to Nursing Midwifery Council (NMC) and the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) and their codes of Conduct and Practice as well as parameters that occur, ethical behaviours and professional boundaries.  Both regulatory bodies have a lot in common and this is why we find all Professional Health Care staff work to the same standards.

The Codes

Both professions follow a set rules through-out their career.  Nursing and Midwifery staff follow the

NMC Codes of Conduct

and Social Workers follow the Codes of Practice.  The Codes set out regular guidelines of direct conduct for those on the NMC register and are organised around four topics, Prioritize individuals, Prioritize viably, Preserve security, Promote demonstrable skill and trust. (  This gives an unmistakable and reliably positive message for all assisting clients inside the administration.  The staff who provide the service are Nurses, Midwifes and Patients.

SSSC Codes of practice are put into 2 sections; the standards of practice and behaviour expected of everyone who works on Social Services in Scotland as well as the standards expected of employees of Social Service Workers in Scotland, but are presented together as they reflect the responsibilities and duties that both employers and workers meet within the social sector (  The Social Sector includes professionals, for example, Social Workers, Social Carers, Early Years and Young People workers.  As a Social Service worker they should ensure to protect and promote the rights and interests of people who use services and carers, they must also create and maintain the trust and confidence of people who use services and carers. (

Accountability and Responsibility

Accountability is linked to responsibility.  Responsibility can be delegated, accountability cannot.

NMC – Accountability is very important for both patient care and professionalism within nursing.  Nurses and midwives are accountable for decisions made during their career.  They are both accountable legally and professionally for the decisions they make and the consequences of those decisions.

A nurse also must be accountable to him or herself as well as their colleagues.  So, to prevent any of the staff being accountable for their actions they must feel and be confident in any of the jobs or tasks they are completing – even the smallest of tasks.  When they do not feel confident in what they are doing they should contact a senior member of staff so that this task can be delegated. (NMC 2015).

When delegating a task, you must consider if the person has the correct skill set to complete the task and also to provide them with as much support as possible.  Delegation is defined as the transfer of one task to another. (

This relates back to the NMC Code ‘Prioritise Effectively’ which also states within that theme: “Be accountable for your decisions to delegate tasks and duties to other people” (

The NMC has a responsibility to be open and honest with patients when things go wrong, this is called ‘A Duty of Candour’.  Health professionals should likewise be open and honest with their colleagues, employers and any other relevant organisational staff.  The ‘Duty of Candour’ means that all NMC employees must keep up to date with knowledge and skills, be safe, respect confidentiality, delegate appropriately, report concerns.

SSSC – “As a Social Worker, I am accountable for the quality of my work and will take responsibility for maintaining and improving my knowledge and skills”.  (SSSC Codes of Practice pdf).

Social service workers aim to work at the best expectations of integrity in the public interest.  They operate in a system which means they are focussed on their results, work in clearly defined roles, promote values for the whole organisation and show good communication through behaviour.  They also take information and transparent decisions which are subject to scrutiny and engage with others to make sure they are accountable. (

So simply like the NMC the SSSC feel dependable and take responsibility for their own work, activities and will claim up to mistakes and resolve them.

Employers that follow the SSSC code have a responsibility to make sure all staff are registered appropriately and correctly to meet standards of their code and use it to reflect on their practice and how they can continually improve themselves.

Limitations and Referral

Nurses must make sure they are Preserving Safety by making sure patient and public safety is protected.  They should always work within their limits of competence and if they are not competent in the task or field then the patient should be referred to someone with the correct skill set.  This means making a referral to another practitioner when any other action may be required.

Within the NMC code theme ‘Preserve Safety’ it states; Recognise and work within limits of your competence, be open and candid with all service users about all aspects of care and treatment, including when any mistakes or harm have taken place.  Raise concerns immediately if you believe a person is vulnerable or at risk and needs extra support and protection. (Glasper, A 2015)

The SSSC and the Social Service Workers also have to know their limitations and boundaries, they must be careful to not form inappropriate relationships with their service users or carers or to discriminate against them.  They must also be aware to when to make a referral for anyone if they feel they need help within another professional setting.  When referring to another professional from a different field this is called ‘Good Practice’.


The SSSC Clinical Supervision should first provide checks and balances for their work.  It provides oversight to be sure they are providing effective, ethical and legal services to clients.  Supervision should also help the therapist or social worker develop their skills.  This should provide an opportunity to explore their own goals, problems and frustrations within their career.

Clinical supervision is a term used by registered nurses and other healthcare professionals to provide practice focused relationship and enable them to reflect on their own practice.  This includes nurses doing their Continuous Personal Development through-out their career using reflective practice and shared experience. (Benbow, W. Jordan, G. 2017).  There are many approaches of clinical supervision: one-to-one, group or peer group.  This enables them to ‘Promote professionalism and trust’.  This means they should be fulfilling all registration requirements for the NMC to ensure they are up to date with knowledge and skills within their practice.

Ethics and Professional Boundaries

It is important to recognise that every individual will have different opinions and views and sometimes there are no right or wrong beliefs.  Everyone should be able to express their views, while remembering not to exclude other people’s views.  Nurses are often confronted with moral dilemmas to which they need to decide if they should or should not action as both have equally compelling reasons.

Nurses suggest there are four key principles in healthcare: Respect for Autonomy – self determination, Beneficence – the duty to do good, Non-Munificence – above all do no harm, and Justice – treat everyone alike, equally and value them.  (Benbow, W. Jordan, G. 2017)

Professional bodies face ethical issues every day at work, these can be things such as Age, Ethnicity, Citizenship, Disability but they are educated and trained well to understand these.  Both codes underline that professionals must keep professional boundaries with their patients; this is limits which protect the patients from being vulnerable.  When they cross a line within their boundaries it is behaving in an unprofessional manner.

Word Count – 1268

Reference Page

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