Every nurse and midwife on the NMC Register will be receiving their copy of the revised and update Code which becomes effective on 31 March 2015.

You can view the New Code here

This new Code has been revised with input from nurses and midwives, patients and service users, and employers. Its aim is to reflect contemporary nursing and midwifery practice. 

The Code also makes clear that responsibility for those receiving care lies not only with the nurse or midwife providing hands-on care, but also with those nurses and midwives working in policy, education and management roles.

The Code sets out the core standards of conduct and practice expected of nurses and midwives. The revised Code reflects four major themes, designed to support quality in health and care with the ultimate aim of public protection:

  • Putting people first – making care and safety the main concern and making sure that dignity is preserved and needs of people are recognised, assessed and responded to. Those receiving care are to be treated with respect and their rights must be upheld and any discriminatory attitudes and behaviours towards those receiving care must be challenged.
  • Preserving safety – Making sure patient and public safety is protected, exercising a professional ‘duty of candour’ and raising concerns immediately if a situation arises which puts patients or public safety at risk.
  • Practising effectively – Assessing needs and delivering or advising on treatment or giving help without delay and to the best of abilities. Effective communication, keeping clear and accurate records and sharing skills, knowledge and experience where appropriate.
  • Promoting professionalism and trust - Upholding the reputation of the profession at all times. Nurses and midwives should display a personal commitment to the standards of practice and behaviour set out in the Code and be a model of integrity and leadership for others to aspire to. This should lead to trust and confidence in the profession from patients, people receiving care, other healthcare professionals and the public.

Throughout the UK Nurses and midwives are proud to uphold these standards every day – the code is of benefit to everyone who cares about nursing and midwifery.

  • Educators can use the Code to help students understand what being a registered professional means.
  • Employers can use the Code to support their staff, upholding standards providing quality and safety.
  • Nurses and Midwives can use the Code to reinforce their professionalism.
  • Patients and service users can use the Code to provide feedback about the care they receive.

What’s new in the Code – a brief overview

Duty of Candour – every healthcare professional must be open and honest with patients if something goes wrong with their treatment or care which causes, or has the potential to cause harm or distress.

Social Media – The Code recognises the changing nature of communications and sets standards for acting responsibly including the use of social media.

Fundamentals of Care – The Code covers the essential aspects of care including nutrition, hydration and environmental cleanliness.

Raising concerns – brings the Code in line with the re-launched Raising Concerns Guidance published in 2013.

Delegation and accountability – tasks and duties must be delegated responsibly and nurses and midwives

The professional duty to take action in an emergency – Nurses and midwives should take action in an emergency when off duty, within the limits of their competence.


“The Code will strike a chord with the nurses and midwives who already demonstrate these principles in their practice. It will put patients and service users at the heart of practice, and will help us to protect the public better.

Public expectations of care have changed since the Code was last reviewed in 2008. It is essential that the Code reflects patients’ and service users’ needs, modern healthcare practice and the recommendations of reviews such as the Francis Inquiry.” Jackie Smith – Chief Executive and Registrar NMC

A leaflet about the Code for patients and the public will be available on the NMC website from 31 March 2015.