The RCN has launched a toolkit to help nursing staff understand when and how to escalate workplace issues and report concerns.
The Raising Concerns toolkit includes information on each stage of escalation, from identifying a potential concern through to formally reporting it to senior colleagues, the RCN said.
It can be used by nurses, nursing associates, students and health care support workers in the NHS and independent sector to understand the importance of remaining factual, staying neutral and keeping records of events, it added.
It also includes a section for nurse managers, which outlines their professional duties, how to discuss concerns with staff and offers information on conducting an investigation.
‘An important safety skill’
Eileen Mckenna, RCN deputy director of nursing, said raising concerns at work ‘isn’t easy’ but is important to safeguard nursing staff and ‘can provide learning opportunities’.
She continued: ‘All workplaces that employ nursing staff should have a culture of safety and focus on system learning, not individual blame in the event of a mistake being made.
‘We will always support members who challenge unsafe practices, processes or conditions at work in the interests of their own safety and that of patients. It’s an important skill that promotes psychological safety, a positive learning environment and wellbeing.’
Raising and escalating concerns is a central clause in the NMC Code, which says nurses must act without delay if they believe there is a risk to patient safety or public protection.