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Code of Ethics

for Registered Nurses



the integrated knowledge, skills, judgment and attributes required of

a nurse to practise safely and ethically in a designated role and setting. (Attributes

include, but are not limited to, attitudes, values and beliefs.)


the ethical obligation to keep someone’s personal and private

information secret or private (Fry & Johnstone, 2008).

Conflicts of interest:

occur when the nurse either makes or is in a position to make

a decision based upon what is good for the nurse’s own best interests, not the best

interest of others who might be affected (Oberle & Raffin Bouchel, 2009; CNO, 2017a).

Conscientious objection:

a situation in which a nurse informs their employer

about a conflict of conscience and the need to refrain from providing care because a

practice or procedure conflicts with the nurse’s moral beliefs (CRNBC, 2017b).


the state of being aware of and attaching importance to a behaviour

or action.


the voluntary agreement to some act or purpose made by a capable

individual. Criteria for consent include the person or substitute decision-maker

being adequately informed and being capable of giving (or refusing) consent without

coercion, fraud or misrepresentation (CRNBC, 2017a).


“the learned values, beliefs, norms and way of life that influence an

individual’s thinking, decisions and actions in certain ways” (CNO, 2009a, p. 3).


the variation between people in terms of a range of factors such as

ethnicity, national origin, race, gender, gender identify, gender expression, ability, age,

physical characteristics, religion, values, beliefs, sexual orientation, socio-economic

class or life experiences (RNAO, 2007).

Duty to provide care:

nurses have a professional duty and a legal obligation to

provide persons receiving care with safe, competent, compassionate and ethical

care. There may be some circumstances in which it is acceptable for a nurse to

withdraw from care provisions or to refuse to provide care (see Appendix B; CRNBC,

2017b; CRNNS, 2014).