The NHS has six values that it expects healthcare staff to adopt, these are: working together for patients, respect and dignity, commitment to quality of care, compassion, everyone counts and improving lives. Working together for patients means that patients must come first in everything, the NHS should work together and with other organisations to put the patient first. Respect and dignity cover how anyone that encounters the NHS should be treated. This includes patients, carers, families and staff. Commitment to quality care explains that the NHS is always striving to provide the best quality of care and welcomes feedback in order to identify areas for improvement. Compassion means that all patients, carers and relatives should be treat with sensitivity and kindness. It is important to find time for patients and make them feel valued and listened too. Improving lives details how the NHS strives to improve health and well-being for everyone and recognises that it has a key role in helping communities live healthier lives. Everyone counts recognises that every person in society should be able to benefit from the resources the NHS can provide. It aims to ‘make sure nobody is excluded, discriminated against or left behind’ (Lea, 2015). These values clearly set out what is expected by the NHS of healthcare professionals and should be a regular part of healthcare professionals’ practice. Healthcare professionals that uphold these values will be able to deliver the best kind of compassionate and patient-centred care they can.
Knowledge is another key requirement of a good healthcare professional. The knowledge of a healthcare professional is dependent on the role they are performing, it will differ from one profession to another. It covers a broad range of skills, experiences and sources and needs to be easily communicated to other healthcare professionals and even patients, carers and families. Knowledge is always changing and growing as patients’ needs become more complex and healthcare practice becomes more technological. Healthcare professionals need to take an active approach towards regularly updating and reviewing their knowledge of conditions and practice. One way of doing this is through reflective practice.
Reflective practice is the act of taking an experience and using it as a learning aid in order to better a person’s skills and knowledge in future. In an ever-changing and busy environment, healthcare professionals need to be able to reflect on their knowledge and practices to be able to grow them and adjust or change if necessary. The use of reflective practice can enable healthcare professionals to promote good practice and challenge bad practice whilst upholding the core principles and values of the NHS. When carrying out reflective practice, healthcare professionals can consider the NHS core values and principles and whether these were upheld. Keeping these values in mind and applying them to the situation can enable them to think about how they can better apply these principles in future practice.

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