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RCN issues guidance following recent spate of terrorist attacks

Nurses shouldn’t put their own safety at risk, says RCN

Jo Carlowe

Thursday, 08 June 2017

Nurses are not expected to put their own safety at risk, the Royal College of Nursing has said today.

The RCN has issued a statement giving guidance for nurses and midwives on how to respond to unexpected incidents and emergencies, following the recent terrorist incidents. 

The organisation states: “There may be occasions where you find yourself involved in an unexpected incident or emergency outside your normal place of work where people may require care.

“As a nurse or midwife, your first instinct is often to go to the aid of others in need. However, it is important that if you find yourself in an unclear situation you follow official government guidance.

“It is essential that you first assess your environment and ensure it is safe for you. If it is not, you should move to a place of safety. You should then ensure that you or someone close to you has contacted the emergency services. Only then should you consider providing care if it is safe to do so.”

The statement continues: “There is no expectation that a nurse or midwife will put their own safety at risk. The NMC Code makes it clear that nurses and midwives must take account of their own safety, the safety of others and the availability of other options for providing care (this may include paramedics, ambulance crews or military personal on the scene of an incident or emergency).

“You may be able to help or assist in this type of situation but you should always follow the advice of the emergency services at the scene of an incident or emergency and find a place of safety if told to do so.

“If near or at your place of work, you should always follow your employer’s emergency and major incident planning policies.

“When delivering any type of care, it is important that you only act within the limits of your knowledge and competence. It is acknowledged that not all nurses are qualified first aiders but they may be able to support other members of the emergency services or those injured or distressed in other ways.”

Early this week it was confirmed that a nurse working at Guy’s Hospital in London, was one of the eight people killed in Saturday’s terror attack.

Professor Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer for England, has issued the following statement: “I am deeply saddened to hear that Kirsty Boden has been named as a victim of Saturday’s terrorist atrocity. My thoughts are with Kirsty’s family and friends, as well as her colleagues at Guy’s Hospital and the rest of the Trust, through this unimaginably difficult time.

“The people responsible for this heinous act showed a callous and indiscriminate disregard for human life. In contrast, Kirsty truly epitomised the values of nursing, of public service and the compassion we associate with the NHS.

“It’s really important that the hospitals are able to prioritise caring for their patients and staff, and I would urge everyone to respect this over the coming days.”

Picture credit: Lenscap Photography / Shutterstock.com

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