March 2020

The Code of Conduct and you: Understanding principle 3

Trust is a key component of the therapeutic nurse-patient relationship, which means that understanding how to build and maintain your patient’s trust is an essential skill for any nurse.

Patient trust is earned and maintained by providing safe and competent care. Principle 3 of the Code of Conduct breaks down “safe and competent care” into strategies and actions you can make part of your nursing practice. Some of these include:

Be a lifelong learner
Nursing practice is always changing, which means nurses must be lifelong learners. Make sure your knowledge and skills are always up-to-date. You can do this by routinely reflecting on the quality of your practice and setting annual learning goals. Make a plan with steps to achieve your goals and reflect on your progress.

Know your limits
Knowing when you don’t have the knowledge, skill or judgment to perform a procedure or activity is a critical part of providing safe care. Put patients first by collaborating with the broader health care team and seek advice when you need it.

Communication is key
Patients need to feel they are being heard and given information in a respectful way. You can assess your patients’ communication needs and adapt your style to meet them. Pay attention to the words you use to describe their care, so patients understand their care plans. Actively listening to patients, without interrupting, is important.

When you first meet your patient, introduce yourself by telling them your first and last name, title and your role in their care. Introducing yourself to your patient shows that you are professional, respectful and accountable. It’s the first step towards establishing the therapeutic nurse-patient relationship.

Understanding the Code

Watch our webcast to learn how the Code of Conduct applies to situations you may encounter in your everyday practice.

If you have questions about the Code or how it applies to your nursing practice, just ask us!

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