Social inclusion - inclusive practice

The RCN was one of the five professions in mental health that contributed to the development of Capabilities for Inclusive Practice published by the National Social Inclusion Programme (NSIP) with the Department of Health in 2007 (Department of Health 2007).

The 10 Essential Shared Capabilities (ESCs) – which underpinned the development of workforce capabilities for socially inclusive practice (Hope 2004; Department of Health et al 2007), have been adapted as a series of principles for inclusive practice for nurses across communities and health settings.

These key principles of inclusive practice can achieve safe, ethical and fair practice for a socially inclusive approach to the delivery of nursing care. They are underpinned with due regard to the different strands of equality: age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, religion or belief (Government Equalities Office 2010), and are supported by the NMC Code of Professional Conduct (Nursing and Midwifery Council 2008). They can be used to support the RCN Principles of Nursing Practice (Royal College of Nursing 2010) – see how to use this site.

Nurses work in partnership

  • Nurses are committed to working in partnership with the public and wider community networks.
  • Nurses possess interpersonal skills to build effective relationships and networks in the development of opportunities to access healthcare.
  • Nurses work with individuals and communities to develop imaginative solutions to access relevant mainstream care and services.

Nurses respect diversity

  • Nurses are committed to developing innovative practices which reflect the equality duties (Government Equalities Office 2008).
  • Nurses actively promote equality of opportunity for all individuals and communities.
  • Nurses underpin their practice with explicit values of justice and fairness; and respect the unique identity and needs of people.

Nurses practice ethically

  • Nurses comply with their professional code of practice to develop care and services which have meaning and integrity.
  • Nurses provide dignified care, promoting human rights.
  • Nurses manage individual and complex situations and are aware of the limits to their knowledge and skills.

Nurses challenge inequalities

  • Nurses challenge and address the causes and effects of exclusion and health inequalities: poverty, poor housing, homelessness, stigma and discrimination, forced mobility, poor education.
  • Nurses influence other providers and commissioners to develop services which are accessible and inclusive.
  • Nurses advocate on behalf of excluded individuals and communities to create a fair society.

Nurses promote recovery

  • Nurses respect that recovery is what people experience themselves and is not a health ‘intervention’.
  • Nurses support individuals to make their own choices and decisions – demonstrating hope and optimism towards recovery.
  • Nurses are creative in promoting opportunities for people to achieve a valued and positive lifestyle.

Nurses identify people’s needs and strengths

  • Nurses use advanced assessment skills which focuses on the strengths and needs of individuals and their support networks.
  • Nurses are able to work with complexity, recognising the holistic needs and individual situations of people.
  • Nurses appreciate and respect that people have a right to make choices and manage their own recovery.

Nurses provide person-centred care

  • Nurses work collaboratively to establish goals and outcomes which are from the perspective of the individual.
  • Nurses are highly skilled to build trusting relationships with individuals which elicits ‘what matters’ to them.
  • Nurses create relationships with a wide range of community services to facilitate matching of opportunities to unique needs.

Nurses make a difference

  • Nurses are committed to delivering high quality care which is based on the needs of individuals and communities and is underpinned by values and evidence.
  • Nurses act as an expert resource for other practitioners and community organisations.
  • Nurses challenge others to improve services which are inclusive, based on best practices and have involved the public and communities in the development.

Nurses promote safety and positive risk taking

  • Nurses work with the tensions of providing safe care and services, and the risks for individuals and communities.
  • Nurses work as part of a team to ensure that risk assessments are informed by sound knowledge and involvement of the individual and their family/friends.
  • Nurses maintain their knowledge and skills to a high level, working within their level of competence.

Nurses ensure their own personal development and learning

  • Nurses are committed to life-long learning, reflective practice and supervision to ensure that they work inclusively.
  • Nurses contribute to the body of knowledge of socially inclusive practice and influence the research and practice development agenda.
  • Nurses ensure that appraisals and personal development plans.


These references were last accessed on 4 April 2014. Some of them are in PDF format - see how to access PDF files.

Department of Health et al (2007) Capabilities for inclusive practice, London: The Department.

Government Equalities Office (2010) Equality Act 2010, GOV.UK website.

Hope R (2004) The Ten Essential Shared Capabilities - A framework for the  whole of the mental health workforce, London: Department of Health.

Nursing and Midwifery Council (2008) The Code: Standards of conduct, performance and ethics for nurses and midwives, London: NMC.

Royal College of Nursing (2010) Principles of Nursing Practice, RCN website.