Are Your Patients Safe? Is Your Professional Registration Secure?


 Nursing members are increasingly contacting Unison reps with concerns arising from being directed to work in other areas.

The branch believes that although it can sometimes be reasonable to deploy staff to where there is greatest need, this must be approached with great caution.


These are the the main concerns staff are bringing to us on a regular basis.

1. What should I do if I feel my ward has been left unsafe because staff have been moved?

You must raise your concerns immediately with the nurse in charge and/or the manager who is directing that staff are moved. This is required under section 16 of the NMC code of conduct. If the staff move goes ahead but your concerns remain you must make a record of this. This should be done by completing a clinical incident, which also ensures that the incident is then scrutinised by the Governance department.

2. I work well within my own area but don’t feel comfortable working in a different area. 

You have many skills that you use every day which can be used elsewhere. It is vital however that you understand the requirements of the NMC code of conduct. The code is there to protect patients and the public, but it also protects you as a practicing nurse.

3. I have been asked to cover a role beyond my current grade/experience, what do I do?

Section 11 of the code clearly states that the responsibility in ensuring that a person asked to perform a role or task is sufficiently trained and competent to the standard required in an area, lies at the door of the person asking them to do it.

Section 13 of the code places a responsibility at your door to recognise your own competencies and to work within them.

Section 16 of the code is clear that you must raise your concerns if asked to practice beyond your role, experience and training. It is always wise to be able to produce evidence that you did raise your concerns.

Section 16 also requires your manager to protect you from any harm, victimisation etc, after raising these concerns.



NURSING AND MIDWIFERY COUNCIL (NMC), 2015.The code: professional standards of practice and behaviour for nurses and midwives. London:NMC

Date Online: 25/04/2017

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