According to the NMC, it isimportant that midwives comply with the standards set in the code, ensuringthat they are performing their role in a professional manner; allowing patientsin their upkeep to receive quality focused care. It is an obligatoryexpectation of midwives to do this as it plays a crucial part in theirmidwifery profession.
The NMC framework outlinesthat midwives should centre their care and prioritise patients by putting thosewho are in need of support first. (NMC Code Guidelines 2015). When doing so,midwives are to protect those on the receiving end of care, making sure theyare being treated in a specialized way, allowing their dignity and individualrights to be supported and protected. Midwives are to support patients byacknowledging their needs, therefore allowing the correct type of supervisionto take place.
Acting in the best interest of individuals during all stages oftheir care safeguards them and therefore allows them to be listened to, havingtheir individual concerns focused on. Effective midwifery practiceis also looked upon as midwives should have the ability to communicate to theirpatients in a professionalised way, allowing them to receive good qualityevidence based information. (NMC Code Guidelines 2015). This framework governsmidwifery practice as midwives are to communicate in an efficient andunderstandable way as this allows service users such as the patients in theircare to understand this new information which has been delivered to them.Whilst undergoing this process, it is suitable to check the individualsunderstanding to confirm that they are aware of the new knowledge they havebeen given. Relating this to midwifery practice, this will enable midwives to understandthe needs of their patients in a more in depth way as using different methodsof communication such as verbal/ non-verbal will allow them to do so. (NMC CodeGuidelines 2015). The National Institute forHealth and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is a part of the NHS and governhealthcare professionals by providing the correct guidance and advice to betterhealth care within England (NICE Guidelines: The Manual 2014).
Thisprofessional framework governs the midwifery profession as it allows thestandards of treatment and care of patients to be upheld; by abiding by thisframework midwives are able deliver effective care to those being treated. Inreference to midwifery practice, midwives will have the ability to guidepatients on the best routes of treatment on an individual basis. The DataProtection Act (1998) gives legal rights to individuals who have informationstored of themselves. This therefore covers patients by maintaining theirdignity as those who are working with members of the public are to comply andabide to keeping information safe and secure. In a health care profession suchas midwifery, patients who are treated and looked after are protected frommisuse of personal information. (DPA 1998). Patients being treated withinhealthcare settings such as hospitals will have passed on confidential informationabout themselves and is the health care professionals duty to make sure thatonly authorised people are able to have access to these stored records;unauthorised members should not be able to gain access to these and patientsshould be informed on why the information is being logged.
(KeyLegislation-Dignity In Care 2013). Confidentiality is a core dutyin midwifery practice and requires professionals such as midwives to keeprecords and personal patient information private, unless consent has been givenfor it to be passed on to another healthcare professional. (Ethics In Medicine2014). Midwives are to create a trusting environment for their patients byrespecting their privacy. Ones information should not be discussed withoutpermission and should always be kept out of sight and reach of unauthorisedindividuals and members of the public. Patients right to individual privacy isviolated when their records have been accessed by others without permission. Patients who lack mentalcapacity may not be able to make inclined decisions for themselves, the MentalCapacity Act however ensures that these individuals are able to do so abouttheir own treatment and types of care which they are receiving.
The MCA givesindividuals the opportunity to express their own preferences of how they wouldlike to be cared and treated. If a patient who lacks capacity is unable to doso, they may allow someone which they trust to make a decision on their behalf.(Mental Capacity Act 2005). Informed consent also plays a part when it comes todecision making; midwives are to check that informed consent has been givenbefore any type of treatment/ care is arranged to take place. If the patientdeclines a type of care or treatment offered to them it should be respected, aseach patient has the ability to make their own choices on what they wish toreceive.
Ethical principles of care such as autonomy allows patients tocommunicate their own decisions with a professional health worker. (TheUnderlying Principles of Ethical Patient Care). In relation to midwifery,patients may decide that they wish not to receive treatments offered to themand this should be respected as each should have the option to do so. Midwivesshould act in the best interest of their patients and should do no harm tothem, this links to the ethical principle of non maleficence. Professionalsshould act in appropriate ways which do not inflict evil or cause harm toothers such as patients in a hospital setting. Professionals however shouldwork in the interest of beneficence which is an action undertaken to advantageothers.
(Beneficence vs. Non-maleficence 2008). Professional midwiferyadvocate has come into place allowing midwives to be supported through clinicalsettings allowing them to improve upon individual skills and professionalrevalidation. (PMA Advocating and Educating for Quality Improvement). The PMAallows midwives to develop their own knowledge and to enhance the quality ofcare which women and babies are receiving. By doing this, women will be able tohave a more memorable experience as the quality of care they have received willbe up to standards.
Strategies and skills which are learnt along the way willstick with midwives and will give them the opportunity to reflect on thesupport they have given, what they think they have done well and what they maywish to improve upon for next time if any. Revalidation is a process whichall midwives and nurses are required to follow to maintain their registrationwith the Nursing and Midwifery Council. (Revalidation NMC 2018).
Revalidationwill facilitate midwives to practise securely and in an operative way whichhelps to protect patients. Whilst doing this midwives will have the opportunityto reflect upon the code and will allow them to notice whether or not they areworking professionally in relation to what is outlined by the NMC. One of therequirements outlined is that midwives are to write five written reflectiveaccounts. By doing this, midwives will be able to reflect upon their practiceand will be able to identify areas for improvement allowing them to make minoradjustments dependant on new pieces of information they may have learned; andhow their practice links in with the code. When doing so they are able to thinkabout these requirements and whether they have touched upon some of these whilstin a clinical setting. (Revalidation NMC 2018).
Mandatorytraining is also a requirement for midwives and allows them to learn new piecesof information relevant to their role such as precautions they must take,conflict resolutions etc. Fire safety awareness is one of many topics coveredduring mandatory training sessions and is important to be learnt as midwivesare able to know the fire safety precautions of their trust and what they mustdo in an event of a fire. (Royal College of Nursing 2018). These skills learntat these sessions can reduce risks of the organisation/ trust and can thereforesafeguard other individuals and patients using the services. Personaldevelopment plans are also something which midwives and other health careprofessionals complete to help with their individual growth and to encourageindividual achievements. They allow people working in health to do this onregular occasions and lets them recognise their own set goals and if they haveachieved any of which they have made note of. Personal development plans arecreated individually and allows professionals to identify what they wish toachieve and can encourage life long learning; it will allow individuals tocreate goals and methods that can help them to achieve them.
(PersonalDevelopment Planning 2015). Itis the role of the midwife to teach, mentor and support women and theirfamilies throughout all stages of their pregnancy; this includes prenatal andpostnatal care. Midwives have a duty in public health to promote healthylifestyle choices to ensure that baby is safe and well. Midwives act as an advocateto women also when informing them about issues and problems which can occurafter childbirth and how they can give their baby the best type of care. Followingon from the role of the midwife, it is also their duty to take responsibilityfor their own actions and to keep patients information confidential and secure.Record keeping is important within the role of the midwife as if anycomplications were to arise, documentation would have taken place meaning thatall important and relevant information has been recorded. Withoutdocumentation, if implications were to arise there would be no records stored formidwives or other professionals to read upon to see what the causes of theproblem may be.
Recordkeeping is vital in a situation such as hand over as the midwife would need tocommunicate effectively to another health care professional; this may beanother midwife or even a nurse. Information about the patient they were takingcare of would need to be communicated efficiently to the second person as theywill need the relevant clinical information about the patient so they know whatcare or treatment they are to offer them. Midwives are accountable for theirown actions and therefore must not put themselves in any predicament which cancause them to get a disciplinary or struck off by the NMC. To be accountablemidwives must have the ability to perform the activity, accept theresponsibility which comes along with doing the activity and should have theauthority to perform such through policies of the trust. (Royal College ofNursing 2018). Inconclusion to this, it is important for midwives to stay in line with the code asthey should be respectful and helpful towards all their patients. They shouldbe encouraging patients to make their own individualised decisions about theircare as this will therefore enable them to feel that they are having theirneeds listened and adhered to. It is a midwifes duty to take ownership fortheir own individual practice and should be honest at all times.
By doing soshows patients that they are being paid close attention to and that theirwellbeing is being looked at as well as the care and treatment they are to receive.Staying in line with the code can help to benefit a woman in various differentways and will allow her to feel empowered as she has the ability to feel safe dueto her knowing she is being treated and taken good care of. Prioritising people,practising effectively, preserving safety and promoting professionalism are allprofessional standards which allow patients to be treated in a respectful way. Thequality of care in which a woman receives can also empower her, make her feel valuedand appreciated. Encouraging her self-esteem and boosting her confidence thereforeenables her to tackle life’s many obstacles.
By doing so, women will be much moreassertive and inclined as they will therefore know what to expect when beingencountered by professionals such as midwives and will know what to expect inthe type of care which is provided to them.