Nursing Principles

The principles of nursing practice describe what everyone, from nursing staff to patients, can expect from nursing.

The principles describe what constitute safe and effective nursing care, and cover the aspects of behavior, attitude and approach that underpin good care.

  • Nurses and nursing staff treat everyone in their care with dignity and humanity – they understand their individual needs, show compassion and sensitivity, and provide care in a way that respects all people equally.
  • Nurses and nursing staff take responsibility for the care they provide and answer for their own judgments and actions – they carry out these actions in a way that is agreed with their patients and the families and carers of their patients, and in a way that meets the requirements of their professional bodies and the law.
  • Nurses and nursing staff manage risk, are vigilant about risk, and help to keep everyone safe in the places they receive health care.
  • Nurses and nursing staff provide and promote care that puts people at the centre, involves patients, service users, their families and their carers in decisions and helps them make informed choices about their treatment and care.
  • Nurses and nursing staff are at the heart of the communication process: they assess, record and report on treatment and care, handle information sensitively and confidentially, deal with complaints effectively, and are conscientious in reporting the things they are concerned about.
  • Nurses and nursing staff have up-to-date knowledge and skills, and use these with intelligence, insight and understanding in line with the needs of each individual in their care.
  • Nurses and nursing staff work closely with their own team and with other professionals, making sure patients’ care and treatment is co-ordinated, is of a high standard and has the best possible outcome.
  • Nurses and nursing staff lead by example, develop themselves and other staff, and influence the way care is given in a manner that is open and responds to individual needs.


Source: RCN