A Code of Ethics for Nurses
An international Code of Ethics for nurses was first adopted in 1953. It has been revised and reaffirmed at various times since then; most recently with a revision in 1999. General in nature, but specific in application, it is most suited to the special challenges faced by travel nurses. There has never been a Code specifically adapted for travel nurses in every specialty and/or in general or advanced practice that travel throughout the United States and throughout the world. This adaptation of the ICN Code for Nurses helps make clear what has only been inferred before. Where reference is made to an individual in the Code, it also infers to family and community.
The need for healthcare is universal. Thus, healthcare is provided without prejudice. That is, the nurse treats all persons of whatever nationality, race, creed, culture, gender, politics or social status as humans to be respected and cared for equally. Respect for human rights, including the right to life, to dignity and to be treated with respect is intrinsic to the nurse/patient relationship. Nurses render health services to individuals, families and the communities and coordinate their services with those of related groups. The Code has five principle elements that outline the standards of ethical conduct.
Nurses and People
- A nurse’s primary professional responsibility is to people requiring healthcare.
- Nurses, in providing care, promote an environment in which the human rights, values, customs and spiritual beliefs of the individual, family and community are respected.
- Nurses ensure that the individual receives sufficient information on which to base consent for care and related treatment.
- Nurses hold in confidence personal information and use judgment in sharing this information.
- Nurses hold in confidence any proprietary information learned in conjunction with their employment.
- Nurses share with society the responsibility for initiating and supporting action to meet the health and social needs of the public, in particular those of vulnerable populations.
- Nurses also share responsibility to sustain and protect the natural environment from depletion, pollution, degradation and destruction.
Nurses and Practice
- Nurses carry personal responsibility and accountability for healthcare practice and for maintaining competence by continual learning.
- Nurses maintain a standard of personal health so that the ability to provide care is not compromised.
- Nurses use judgment in relation to individual competence when accepting assignments and delegating responsibilities.
- Nurses, at all times, maintain standards of personal conduct that reflect well on the profession and enhance public confidence.
- Nurses, in providing care, ensure that the use of technology and scientific advances are compatible with the safety, dignity and rights of people.
Nurses and Co-workers
- Nurses sustain a cooperative relationship with co-workers in nursing and other fields.
- Nurses take appropriate action to safeguard patients when their care is endangered by a co-worker or any other person.
Nurses and Employers
- Nurses practice within the legal restrictions of each jurisdiction.
- Nurses practice according to the policies of their employer as delineated in their contract with the employing agency.
- Nurses practice collaboratively within the policies of the contracting company and healthcare setting (hospital, etc.)
- Nurses promptly report ethical, legal and practice concerns to their employing company.
* An adaptation of International Council of Nurses' Code of Ethics for Nurses, see http://www.icn.ch/