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Code of Conduct for Nurses

The College of Nurses of Ontario’s Code of Conduct sets the standard of practice all nurses are accountable to.

The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) has revised the Code of Conduct (Code) for the nursing profession.

The Code informs nurses of the standard of practice they are professionally accountable to. It also explains the professional behaviour and ethical conduct people can expect from a nurse when receiving care.

As CNO’s central practice standard, the Code summarizes the accountabilities existing in all CNO practice standards. CNO’s practice standards support the Code by providing the detailed guidance nurses require for safe and ethical care.

Code of Conduct
View the Code of Conduct

Modernized Code of Conduct video


Nurses are expected to use the Code together with CNO’s other practice standards to guide their practice.

The public can also reference the Code if they have questions about nurses’ responsibilities.

The Code is useful for others who have responsibilities within the nursing profession, including the following: 

  • Employers can uphold the standards of the Code within their organizations and inform patients or their family members of what to expect of nurses. 
  • Educators can also integrate the Code’s principles within their education programs to help students understand what it means to be a nurse registered with CNO. 
  • Nursing students can use the Code to learn more about their future nursing accountabilities.


The Code puts you, the patient, at the centre of nursing care. If you are unhappy about the care you or someone else has received from a nurse, it is best to discuss your concerns directly with the nurse or their employer.

If you wish to make a formal complaint to CNO, read our Make a Complaint web page to learn more about how to proceed. 




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Page last reviewed June 28, 2023