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Code of Ethics

for Registered Nurses


Acting Ethically in Situations That Involve Job Action

Job action by nurses is often directed toward securing conditions of employment

that enable the safe and ethical care of persons receiving care, now or in the future.

However, action directed toward such improvements could hinder persons receiving

care in the short term. Nurses advocate for their involvement in workplace planning

for the safety of those receiving care before and during job action. Members of the

public are also entitled to information about the steps taken to ensure the safety of

persons during any job action.

Nurses planning to take job action or practising in environments where job

action occurs take steps to safeguard the health and safety of persons receiving

care during the course of the job action. (A8)

On the basis of this statement in the


, the following guidelines are suggested:

• Each nurse is accountable for decisions made about their practice at all

times in all circumstances, including during a legal or an illegal strike

(Nurses Association of New Brunswick [NANB], 2004).

• Individual nurses and groups of nurses safeguard persons receiving care

when planning and implementing any job action.

• Individuals and groups of nurses participating in or affected by job action

share the ethical commitment to the safety of persons in their care. Their

particular responsibilities may lead them to express this commitment in

different but equally appropriate ways.

• Persons receiving care whose safety requires ongoing or emergency nursing

care are entitled to have those needs satisfied throughout any job action.

• During job action, if nurses have any concern about their ability to maintain

practice and ethical standards or their ability to ensure the safety of

persons in their care, they are responsible for communicating this concern

in accordance with identified lines of accountability so that corrective

action can be taken as quickly as possible (NANB, 2004).