Principles at Work: Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Study Day in Birmingham

By Alex Hodges, Senior Research Nurse at

2nd April 2012

There are eight Principles of Nursing Practice that describe what everyone can expect from nursing. They were developed by the RCN in partnership with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), the Department of Health (England) and other patient and service-user organisations.

Sue Mackay and I were fortunate enough to get places on this study day for RCN members hosted by the Midlands region. After an introduction from the Regional Director, a keynote presentation was given by RCN President Andrea Spyropoulos on the importance of professional principles in the quality of care. She is a truly inspirational speaker describing her various meetings with politicians and how recent headlines in the press impact upon nursing morale (especially the gem that nurses should document whenever they have spoken to their patients!). In practice, all nurses want to deliver high quality care – it is often the system that prevents them from doing so.

An overview of The Eight Principles followed, including what they are and how they were developed.  They have been awarded the Crystal Mark for clarity in plain English.  An interactive session where we had to map our company, organisational values to The Principles of Nursing, completed the morning sessions.

A hot lunch of curry was served – chicken for Sue, veggie for me – luckily we had our picture taken with the RCN President prior to this!

Presentations from NICE, some research findings from HSMC, and a session discussing how to mentor students to adopt the principles into their professional persona rounded up the afternoon, with an unexpected but much enjoyed cream tea interlude.

Just an evaluation booklet, certificate collection and drive home negotiating Birmingham rush hour, completed a very worthwhile study day.

The Principles of Nursing Practice can be found here.

Left Image: Sue Mackay, Research Nurse Team Manager at, and Alex Hodges, Senior Research Nurse at, with Andrea Spyropoulos, RCN President.

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