Nutrition - the nursing contribution

"The importance of good nutrition and hydration to patients in hospital must be recognised by all staff and all disciplines from ward level to Trust board. Nurses are central to this process being achieved because they are the one group of healthcare staff that are in closest contact with the patient and their families."
Liz Evan, National Chair of the National Nurses Nutrition Group.

Our publications on nutrition and hydration have detailed the nursing contribution to nutrition and hydration. These responsibilities link clearly with the RCN's Principles of Nursing Practice.

We have used the Principles of Nursing Practice as the basis for this online resource – they tell us what all people can expect from nursing practice, whether they are colleagues, patients, or the families or carers of patients.
You can read the full text of each Principle on this poster (PDF 635KB) [See how to access PDF files], and you can find more information in the online resource on the Principles of Nursing Practice.

The Principles help us to see more clearly the contribution that nurses can make to nutrition and hydration and in this resource we demonstrate how they can be used to improve nutritional care specifically.

Principle A - dignity
Dedicating time to prioritise the nutritional needs of patients, clients and users; recognising and supporting the enjoyment of mealtimes and their important social, cultural and religious functions.

Principle B - accountability
Taking responsibility for the care provided.

Principle C - patient safety
Challenging poor practice in relation to nutrition and hydration.

Principle D - patient centredness
Providing person-centred care and ensuring that all aspects of nutrition are taken into account and acted upon in the context of the person’s individual needs.
Assessing the environment and ensuring it supports good nutritional care.

Principle E - communication
Evaluating the impact of nutrition and hydration care plans and making the necessary changes.
Knowing the recognised process in each organisation for anticipating, minimising, recording and reporting nutritional risks to patients, clients and users.

Principle F - knowledge and skills
Keeping up to date through accessing and using quality information and evidence about nutrition and hydration through continuous professional development.

Principle G - team working
Contributing to multi-professional and multi-agency working that achieves seamless nutritional care.

Principle H - leadership
Leading by example and influencing the way care is given.

Whilst these Principles focus on the role of nursing, we also recognise that chief executives, executive directors, and other members of the multidisciplinary team, including caterers, doctors, dieticians and speech and language therapists, have an important role to play in the provision of effective nutrition and hydration to patients. It is only through a multidisciplinary approach that good nutritional care can be achieved.

This resource brings together information and resources to support the nursing contribution: