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Code of Ethics

for Registered Nurses


Ethical Considerations in Relationships with Nursing Students

Nurses in all roles share the responsibility of supporting nursing students in providing

safe, competent, compassionate and ethical care. Several statements in the


include specific references to student nurses and their relationships with others in

providing nursing care:

Nurses treat each other, colleagues, students and other health-care providers in

a respectful manner, recognizing the power differentials among formal leaders,

colleagues and students. They work with others to honour dignity and resolve

differences in a constructive way. (D13)

Nurses share their knowledge and provide feedback, mentorship and guidance

for the professional development of nursing students, novice nurses, other

nurses and other health-care providers. (G9)

On the basis of these statements in the


, the following guidelines are suggested:

• All teacher-nursing student interactions are to be in keeping with ethical

nursing practice.

• All nurses and nursing students treat each other with respect and honesty.

• All nurses endeavour to provide nursing students with appropriate

guidance for the development of nursing competence.

• The primary responsibility for the assignment and care of the person

remains that of the primary nurse to whom the person has been assigned.

• Persons receiving care are informed of the nursing student’s status as

a learner. Ideally, the preceptor would advise persons in care about the

nursing student’s status and seek permission for that student to provide

care. When the preceptor is not able to speak to all of the nursing student’s

assigned persons, the student informs the person and requests permission

to provide care. The person’s right to refuse care or assistance provided by

a nursing student is to be treated with respect.

• Nursing faculty, preceptors and nursing students “place the safety and

well-being of the [persons in care] above all other objectives, including

fulfilling educational obligations” (CNO, 2017c, p. 3).