A nurse recently exited the register over comments made on TV and social media.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is planning to launch new social media and free speech guidelines for the profession.
Currently under development, the new guidance could help the regulator determine the line between freedom of expression and any potential fitness to practice issue.
Last year, registered nurse Miranda Hughes told Channel 5 viewers during a political TV debate, “if you have voted Conservative, you do not deserve to be resuscitated by the NHS”. She later in the show clarified she would resuscitate people who voted Conservative.
Ms Hughes’s comments sparked controversy and led to a referral to the regulator which also covered other comments made on social media about the Conservative party.
She was removed from the register by mutual agreement late last month.
The NMC code requires nurses to “treat people with kindness, respect and compassion” and “make sure you do not express your personal beliefs (including political, religious or moral beliefs) to people in an inappropriate way”.
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It is not yet known what the new guidance will cover but the regulator has said it will reportedly support nurses to “express their beliefs” in a way that doesn’t damage public confidence in the profession.
The regulator’s executive director of strategy and insight Matthew McClelland explained, “Under our Code nurses, midwives and nursing associates put the people in their care first – and that means treating people with kindness and respect and not expressing their personal beliefs in an inappropriate way.
“We firmly support the right to freedom of expression,” he said.
“Later this year, we’ll be launching new guidance, developed with input from key partners, to support professionals to express their beliefs without damaging public confidence in the professions or raising concerns about fitness to practise.”
It comes at a time when emotions are already running high among nurses over a decade of real-terms pay cuts, chronic short staffing and the underfunding of NHS services.