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This assignment explores the concept of professional values and professional practice including safeguarding that is required to support the role transition from healthcare support worker to Registered Nurse (RN). It also highlights and discusses the key roles and duties of a healthcare support worker needed for the transition to an RN. The key concepts of professional values and professional practice discussed in this assignment include safeguarding and preserving safety, practicing effectively, prioritizing people, and promoting professionalism and trust, care, compassion, competence, communication, courage, and commitment (NMC code 2015).

In the United Kingdom, attrition from conventional pre-registration nursing programs continues to be significant and, once trained, new staff nurses face a number of difficulties in adjusting to their new position (Gould, Carr, and Kelly, 2006). A potential alternative, strongly advocated by the current administration, is to move existing healthcare assistants to pre-registration services (Gould, Carr, and Kelly, 2006). This process involves having the requirements before applying for a university to study nursing. Before becoming an RN, healthcare assistants must have successfully completed a nursing program of education that is approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC, 2019). The premise is that, because of their previous caring experience and exposure to working in the National Health Service (NHS), the healthcare assistants will be more committed to completing training and will undergo role transition more effectively (Gould, Carr, and Kelly, 2006). Professional development is a process starting during undergraduate education and continuing throughout working life. A new role transition has been described as difficult (Pennbrat, et al 2013). Therefore, making the transition from healthcare assistance to a registered nurse is challenging and demanding. Such challenges are fear of failure, financial and or family constraints, clinical incompetency, and lack of personal preparedness as they transit toward a new role and more complex nursing role (Webb, 2011).

Professional practice necessitates competence in terms of knowledge and technical skills (Dall-Alba and Sanberg, 1996). This necessitates not only a broad base of knowledge but also the depth of knowledge in a specific area of practice, as well as the desire and ability to continue developing that knowledge base and sharing it with others, as well as critical thinking in decision-making (Dall-Alba and Sanberg,1996).

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (2015), clearly reflect the importance of humanized care for everyone who will need the service from the health and social care sectors. The role of a healthcare assistant in the United Kingdom has been central to ensuring that patient care is provided and ensuring that the people we support are our first priority (Scammell, 2016). Therefore, the role of a healthcare assistant in a care home setting required for the smooth transition to a registered nurse involves preserving the safety of the people they support to live a fulfilled and independent life using the Person Centred Active Support (PCAS) approach (Beadle-Brown, Hutchinson and Whelton, 2012; Scammell, 2016).

This role involves treating people with dignity and respect, providing care as required without delay, and recognizing the diversity and individual preferences (Beadle-Brown, Hutchinson, and Whelton, 2012). According to Beadle-Brown, Hutchinson, and Whelton (2012), this professional value is significant in the reduction of challenging behavior and self-stimulating behavior among people with learning disabilities. This role is demonstrated in the professional standard of practice required of registered nurses. For instance, RN is required to respect and uphold the dignity of patients by treating people with compassion, and kindness and recognizing people’s contributions and care choices (NMC, 2015).

Another professional value and professional practice needed in the transition from a healthcare role to an RN is preserving the safety of people (NMC, 2015). Safeguarding is described as a means of protecting the health and well-being of children, young people, and vulnerable adults from abuse, harm, and neglect (Care Act, 2014). According to Cusack et al. (2016, p. 1), safeguarding is the protection of human rights to live from torture, inhumane, or degrading treatment. Thus, for the smooth transition from a healthcare role to a registered nurse, it is imperative that these rights are recognized and protected when delivering care (Kozier, 2008). Registered nurses are required to ensure the safety of their patients and the public by immediately raising concerns whenever they come across circumstances that put people at risk of harm, danger, or neglect (NMC, 2015, p.13).

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and Care Quality Commission (CQC) jointly developed a protocol, this includes shared information, risk-related activity, safeguarding people, an operational model for staff in both organizations, the duty of candor and ensuring the delivery of high care quality in the health sector (CQC, 2017). The aim of this is to prevent harm and reduce the risk of abuse or neglect to vulnerable adults with support needs and to everyone who uses the health and social care services. As a healthcare assistant transiting to a registered nurse, the well-being of the people is very important, therefore promoting their health and safety is paramount.

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Safeguarding vulnerable people is a core priority of health and social care professionals (DH, 2011a). Nurses have a key role in the protection of vulnerable adults (Straughair, 2011). Nurses have a duty to recognize the signs and symptoms of abuse and act on any concerns, safeguard all patients, and also provide additional measures for patients who are less able to protect themselves from abuse or harm (Straughair, 2011; DH, 2011). Nurses make patient care their primary concern and ensure that protecting vulnerable adults is an inherent part of everyday nursing practice (NMC, 2008; NMC, 2015).

Kozier (2008) states, as healthcare assistants, the needs of the service users are recognized and attended to; their care and safety are delivered in high-quality care support. Meanwhile, nurses ensure that those receiving care are treated with respect, promoting their rights, preserving their dignity, and showing compassion and kindness (Culloty and Joshua, 2020). Healthcare assistants who intend to become registered nurses must be able to grow and develop in order to meet the demands of a changing healthcare system. Having acquired fundamental skills and training which includes NVQ level 3 in Health and Social Care (Adults) and other relative skills such as record keeping, administration of medication, safeguarding, and communication which serve as a basis for pre-registration into the nursing course to make a smooth transition and competency in the career ahead to become a registered nurse (Hasson, McKenna, and Keeney 2013). Healthcare assistants’ experiences facilitate nursing students’ pathway to RN (Arrowsmith, 2016).

Healthcare assistants need to know the importance of dignity in the lives of the people they support, irrespective of the situation in which they find themselves. Self-awareness of knowledge, skills, and attitude is a prerequisite for supporting patient dignity (Matiti, Cotrel-Gibbon, and Teasdale 2013). Self-awareness aids us in relating to others. It allows us to identify our strengths and areas for improvement, which leads to increased competence (Cook, 1999; Jack and Smith, 2007).

According to Rassin (2010), cited in Moorley, (2019) an example of values is to protect human dignity and be respectful to people. Therefore, our professional values are rooted in our personal values and these are influenced by family, culture, environment, and our religious beliefs as well as ethnic attributes. The awareness, acquisition, and development of your professional values is a gradual process that evolves throughout your personal and professional lifetime (Moorley, 2019). Nurses always maintain professional relationship boundaries with their patients at all times while delivering care and treatment. Nurses ensure that the care standards are met and promote self-esteem. To ensure safety while working in the healthcare sector, working within your limits of competence, make use of your ‘duty of candor’ and raise concerns immediately whenever you come across situations that can put the service users or the public safety in danger (NMC, 2015).

As stated by Feng and Tsai (2012) and Haggins et al. (2010) education preparation programs may not always equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge for independent qualified practice. The work-based knowledge and skills acquired by the healthcare assistant is a prerequisite skill that enables them to transition to registered nurses (Hasson, McKenna, and Keeney 2013). Additionally, the concept of trust is important in healthcare because health and healthcare, in general, involve an element of uncertainty and risk for the vulnerable patient who is reliant on the competence and intentions of the healthcare professional (Sutcliffe, 2011).

As a support worker, performing your duties with honesty and integrity at all times is very important, treating individuals fairly without any act of discrimination, bully or harassment is necessary for the healthcare sector (Gould, Carr, and Kelly, 2006). It is also very important to always work within professional boundaries with the service users including their families. Registered nurses take the lead in providing evidence-based, compassionate, and safe nursing interventions (Moorely, 2019). They ensure that the care they provide and the delegate is person-centered and of a consistently high standard. They support people of all ages in a wide range of care settings. They work in partnership with people, families, and carers to assess whether care is effective and whether the objectives of care have been met in line with their wishes, preferences, and outcomes (Moorely, 2019; Culloty and Joshua, 2020).

Registered nurses constantly reflect on their practice and keep abreast of new developments in nursing, health, and care (Moorley, 2019). They act professionally at all times and use their knowledge and experience to make evidence-based decisions about care (Culloty and Joshua, 2020).


The role transition of a healthcare assistant to a registered nurse which is the highlight of this assignment has been discussed in detail thereby unraveling the importance of the NMC code of conduct (2015), safeguarding, and prioritizing the need of service users. Furthermore, it has identified the specific and unique aspects of learning and skills acquired as a healthcare assistant which is required to transition to a registered nurse and equally highlighted the barriers the healthcare assistants will experience in the journey ahead.


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