The Code

Code of Professional Behavior and Ethics for Nurses and Midwives

The Code of Professional Behavior and Ethics for Nurses and Midwives

The Code of Professional Behavior and Ethics for Nurses and Midwives is a set of standards defined by HMC’s Nursing Executive Committee. The Code describes the behaviors, or conduct, that nurses and midwives employed at HMC are expected to uphold. It builds on HMC’s Code of Conduct, which applies to all staff, and explicitly defines the standards for professional conduct that nurses and midwives shall adhere to at all times in their course of duty.

Twenty-four standards, grouped around four elements, form the framework for the Code. The four elements are:
  • Nurses and Midwives and People
  • Nurses and Midwives and Practice
  • Nurses and Midwives and the Profession
  • Nurses and Midwives and Co-workers
The Code is based on four important values which underpin professional conduct; respect, trust, partnership and integrity.

Respect
A fundamental requirement of the practitioner-patient relationship is treating patients, and their families, with respect. This means behaving towards them in such a way which values them as individuals, recognizing and respecting their dignity and worth.
 
Why have a Code of Professional Behavior and Ethics for Nurses and Midwives

A Code of Professional Behavior and Ethics:
  • Identifies the fundamental ethical standards and values to which the nursing profession is committed.

  • Provides nurses and midwives with a reference point from which to reflect on the conduct of themselves and others.

  • Guides ethical decision-making and practice.
Trust
Nurses and midwives hold a unique and privileged relationship with patients. Patient must be able to trust nurses and midwives to keep them safe and to protect them from harm. Patients must be able to trust nurses and midwives to be safe and competent practitioners. Nurses and midwives must establish trusting relationships with their patients to effectively provide care. This involves using personal information, providing emotional support and physical comfort. Nurses and midwives must also take care not to abuse their position of trust.

Partnership
Patients become partners in their own care when they receive and understand enough information to make decisions about their own care, to exercise choices based on provided information and are fully involved in their care. This means that patients’ independence, views and preferences must be taken into account, especially when the patient has limited knowledge, is vulnerable or is part of a marginalized group.

Integrity
Nurses and midwives are personally accountable for their actions and any omissions in their practice. Nurses and midwives must be able to justify their decisions. Being honest, acting consistently and honoring the commitment to deliver safe and competent care is the basis of establishing patient trust. Integrity means consistently acting according to ethical values and being responsible for one’s actions.