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Copyright © 2006 by ICN - International Council of Nurses, 3, place Jean-Marteau, 1201 Geneva (Switzerland) ISBN : 92-95040-41-4 Printing : Imprimerie Fornara
THE ICN CODE OF ETHICS FOR NURSES
An international code of ethics for nurses was first adopted by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) in 1953. It has been revised and reaffirmed at various times since, most recently with this review and revision completed in 2005.
Nurses have four fundamental responsibilities : to promote health, to prevent illness, to restore health and to alleviate suffering. The need for nursing is universal. Inherent in nursing is respect for human rights, including cultural rights, the right to life and choice, to dignity and to be treated with respect. Nursing care is respectful of and unrestricted by considerations of age, colour, creed, culture, disability or illness, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, politics, race or social status. Nurses render health services to the individual, the family and the community and co-ordinate their services with those of related groups.
THE ICN CODE
The ICN Code of Ethics for Nurses has four principal elements that outline the standards of ethical conduct.
The nurse’s primary professional responsibility is to people requiring nursing care. In providing care, the nurse promotes an environment in which the human rights, values, customs and spiritual beliefs of the individual, family and community are respected. The nurse ensures that the individual receives sufficient information on which to base consent for care and related treatment. The nurse holds in confidence personal information and uses judgement in sharing this information. The nurse shares 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. The nurse also shares responsibility to sustain and protect the natural environment from depletion, pollution, degradation and destruction.
The nurse carries personal responsibility and accountability for nursing practice, and for maintaining competence by continual learning.
The nurse maintains a standard of personal health such that the ability to provide care is not compromised. The nurse uses judgement regarding individual competence when accepting and delegating responsibility. The nurse at all times maintains standards of personal conduct which reflect well on the profession and enhance public confidence. The nurse, in providing care, ensures that use of technology and scientific advances are compatible with the safety, dignity and rights of people.
AND THE PROFESSION
The nurse assumes the major role in determining and implementing acceptable standards of clinical nursing practice, management, research and education. The nurse is active in developing a core of research-based professional knowledge. The nurse, acting through the professional organisation, participates in creating and maintaining safe, equitable social and economic working conditions in nursing.
The nurse sustains a co-operative relationship with co-workers in nursing and other fields. The nurse takes appropriate action to safeguard individuals, families and communities when their health is endangered by a coworker or any other person.
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