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Code of Conduct: A new practice standard for Ontario nurses

The College of Nurses of Ontario has published a new Code of Conduct (Code) for nurses. 

The Code is an overarching practice standard that describes the behaviour and conduct all nurses are professionally accountable to. It is also is a resource for the public to understand what to expect from nurses when receiving care. 

Public trust and confidence in the care nurses provide is essential. That is why when we created the Code, it was important for us to include the public’s perspective.  Through our comprehensive consultation with members of the public, nurses, educators, nurse employers, nursing associations, nursing unions and government, we listened and integrated their feedback and expectations into the Code. 

Consisting of six principles, the Code puts patients at the centre of nursing care: 

  1. Nurses respect the dignity of patients and treat them as individuals
  2. Nurses work together to promote patient well-being
  3. Nurses maintain patients’ trust by providing safe and competent care
  4. Nurses work respectfully with colleagues to best meet patients’ needs
  5. Nurses act with integrity to maintain patients’ trust
  6. Nurses maintain public confidence in the nursing profession 

While most of the Code’s expectations are embedded in other CNO practice standards, we added new ones to address current situations nurses may encounter. For example, expectations on maintaining professional boundaries when using social media, providing timely nursing care, and gaps impacting patient care and health outcomes in different communities. 

To ensure Ontario’s culturally diverse population can read and use the Code, it will be translated into six common languages (French, Mandarin, Cantonese, Punjabi, Spanish and Tagalog) spoken in this province. Other supporting resources are available at www.cno.org/codeofconduct.

Page last reviewed March 22, 2019