Principles of Nursing Practice

Welcome. These pages introduce the Principles of Nursing Practice.

The Principles describe what everyone can expect from nursing practice, whether colleagues, patients, their families or carers.

The Principles were developed by the Royal College of Nursing in partnership with the Department of Health (England), the Nursing and Midwifery Council, and patient and service user organisations.

This is nursing

Working with health care organisations to embed the Principles is part of the RCN’s ongoing commitment to high quality care and is one of the seven key areas of work within the This is nursing initiative which highlights the skills and expertise of nurses.

For news and updates see the dedicated website at This is nursing.

Development of measures

Two reports have been published on studies undertaken by the RCN towards the development of measures to assess the quality of advanced and specialist nursing services, including the development of a patient evaluation questionnaire.

For further details see Measuring up to the Principles – next steps.

How to use the site

Peter Carter, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the RCN, explains the importance of the Principles of Nursing Practice in the purpose. You can also read messages of support for the Principles including messages from patient and user groups.
The full text of the Principles is available in the Principles

Pages for each of the Principles pointing  to activities and resources to support their use can be accessed from the left hand menu of this resource.  These will be updated to reflect new developments as they occur.

If you have any comments or enquiries regarding this resource please contact us at: qualityandsafety@rcn.org.uk.