With all the recent changes proposed to NHS Bursaries, Nurse education and Junior Contracts – Alongside the Junior Doctors strike, some student nurses have come up with the suggestion, that we as a profession could voice our discontent to the proposals by walking out of placement/lecture for an hour.
While I’m all for campaigning, and raising awareness of the proposed changes, working with local MP’s and various groups. This is a step too far, which may put some student nurses in a lot of trouble, with the potential to end up in a disciplinary/fitness to practice hearing. This is why –
1. It breaches the NMC Code of Conduct
Several sections of the Code of Conduct (2015) would be breached if student nurses chose to walk out of placement.
Section 1:4 – “make sure that any treatment, assistance or care for which
you are responsible is delivered without undue delay” by walking out, this could be deemed as delaying care for patients, as you move in to final placements in final year, you may be assigned a caseload of patients.
Section 8:4 – “be supportive of colleagues who are encountering health or performance problems. However, this support must never
compromise or be at the expense of patient or public safety” – While we should support our colleagues, it cannot compromise patient safety.
Section 19:1 – “take measures to reduce as far as possible, the likelihood of mistakes, near misses, harm and the effect of harm
if it takes place”
Section 20:3 – “be aware at all times of how your behaviour can affect and influence the behaviour of other people”
20:7 – “make sure you do not express your personal beliefs (including political, religious or moral beliefs) to people in an inappropriate way” – This is the main point, by walking out on a politically motivated protest, this would in breach of this point.
2. It’s detrimental to your education
As a bursary student, the taxpayer funds your tuition fee, and gives you your bursary, by walking out. Is this not contrary to the point which we’re trying to raise?
Mentors and Placement areas are very short in supply, and students need to make the most of the time while they’re on placement; by walking out, it would be detrimental to your education, as you would miss out on time learning on your placement area/lecture.
Being a student does not give you the same ‘strike’ rights in which an employee of a company would.
3. Lunch Break?
This is one of the possibilities flagged up, however if it occurs on a lunch break, what is the point of leaving as it doesn’t really get the point across.
This is also very dangerous to your physical health, if working a long 12 hour shift, it is important to take adequate breaks and make the most of them.