Nursing and Child Protection

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How changes in Healthcare Policy and Legislation have influenced The Safeguarding Of Children.

Name: Catherine Murphy
Student Number: B00626966
Module Name: Return To Practice Nursing
Module Code: NUR 344/345
Word Count: 1912

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For the purposes of this assignment the author, a Return To Practice Paediatric Nurse will consider how the practice of safeguarding children within a hospital setting has undergone appreciable change since she last practiced in the 1990s and explore how these modifications in child protection arrangements have been influenced by changes in health care policies and legislation. The major focus of the essay will centre on the child safeguarding referral process experienced by a five year old boy (for the purposes of the assignment we will use the pseudonym Charlie) who was admitted to a general paediatric ward suffering the effects of smoke inhalation due to a house fire late at night. The report received from the emergency rescue services by the hospital staff indicated that at the time of rescue, both parents appeared to be highly intoxicated and proved difficult to rouse and thus child safeguarding concerns were raised. The implementation of the child protection procedures by ward staff immediately triggered a series of multi-agency assessments and the co-ordination of responses through an Area Child Protection Committee. This illustrated to the author a significant change in practice which highlighted a move towards greater collaborative multi-disciplinary and interagency working. As a result of this new experience and learning, this essay will explore the rationale behind such changes in practice, it will discuss the emergence of the ‘designated professional’ with regard to child protection and safeguarding and consider the challenges of interagency working while making reference to relevant policies and legislation. The protection and safeguarding of children and young people within the hospital setting has been given huge prominence in recent years. Not only is it considered a fundamental issue for all healthcare professionals but as stated in The Great Ormond Street Hospital Manual of Children’s Nursing Practices (2012), a “key governance issue for the National Health Service”( p118). The paramount importance of safety and wellbeing of children in care requires recognising and understanding the issues of a child ‘in need’, in addition to knowing how to respond and refer these children to the appropriate support services that now exist in a complex and constantly changing practice environment. This primary duty to protect and safeguard vulnerable children is enshrined in the Children Northern Ireland Order (1995) and it is also encapsulated in the Nursing and Midwifery Council Code of Practice (NMC) (2012) which emphasises that the best interest of our patients must lie at the heart of all practice. Practices and procedures for children’s nurses have been altered and shaped over time with the emergence of new evidence and subsequent changes in legislation, policies and procedures. In many instances, the development of and changes that occur in legislation, policies, procedures and practice have been the result of recommendations from inquiries into specific cases of child abuse and neglect. These enquiries have been the key drivers towards improving collaborative approaches to working with children at risk throughout the United Kingdom. (Vincent 2009). A landmark case concerned The Laming inquiry into the death of eight year old Victoria Climbié. The recommendations from this report had immense implications and it was considered singly responsible for significant changes being adopted into primary legislation and associated...
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