Code of Conduct
Code of Conduct for nurses
The Code both advises nurses and tells the public what they can expect of a nurse in terms of the professional role. It also provides a yardstick for evaluating the conduct of nurses.
The Code is framed around four core values – respect, trust, partnership and integrity – and eight primary principles. It is a practical document that clearly describes the conduct expected of nurses. Without the public's trust and confidence in the profession, nurses cannot fulfil their role effectively. This means that what is personal and what is professional will inevitably overlap.
Guidelines: Professional Boundaries
The booklet Guidelines: Professional Boundaries discusses the sometimes challenging but critical issue of professional boundaries in more detail. It is designed to be read alongside the Code.
The key message of both documents is that nurses must make the care of patients their first concern. To do this effectively, they must maintain professional boundaries.
Nurses are expected to familiarise themselves with the Code and the Guidelines and incorporate these standards in their practise.
Guidelines: social media and electronic communication
Guidelines: Social Media & Electronic Communication is a new guidance document to help nurses think about their use of social media and electronic communications in relation to standards of professional conduct. The new guidelines explore the benefits and pitfalls of social media providing detailed guidance. Of the eight principles in the Code, four directly intersect with the use of social media and electronic communications.
Clear direction is given to nurses. For example in relation to protecting patient privacy, nurses are reminded to be aware that patient emails, answer phone messages and texts may be accessed by others. In relation to maintaining professional boundaries, nurses are advised that boundaries could be breached when health consumers are made ‘friends’ on personal social media websites. The guidance document is the second in a series of guidelines expanding on the Code and follows the release of guidelines on professional boundaries.
What has become clear is that even when social media is used with good intentions, patient confidentiality and privacy can be inadvertently breached. Patients don’t have to be named to be identifiable and even with the strictest privacy settings, information can forwarded and shared in potentially ever-expanding networks. Similarly deleted content may remain accessible.