A brief Explanation of the Codes of Professional Conduct For Nurses In Australia

The NMBA has laid 10 codes of professional conduct according to which a nurse is expected to perform:

The nurses must practice in a safe and a competent manner (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, Code of Professional Conduct for Nurses in Australia, 2006)

The first code of conduct requires the nurse to perform in a safe manner. If anyhow a nurse is not sure about his/her actions, or in any case the nurse is doubtful that his/her actions may harm the patient in any manner, then it is better that the nurses must not undertake those actions alone, rather they can seek help from their immediate supervisors (B.Holmes, 2013). On the other hand, the code requires the nurses to be competent enough. Competence here refers to the nurturing of his/her knowledge, skills and abilities on regular basis which will in-turn facilitates their actions.

Nurses must perform according to the standards of the profession and broader health system (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, Code of Professional Conduct for Nurses in Australia, 2006)

Nurses are expected to ensure that the standards and the level of their actions match with the standards that are developed by the professionals. The primary responsibility of a nurse is to provide competent and safe nursing. In any case, if a nurse finds any situation where there is ethical conflict or is illegal, then he/she must inform the immediate superior and should not support the situation.

Nurses practice and conduct themselves in accordance with laws relevant to the profession and practice of nursing (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, Code of Professional Conduct for Nurses in Australia, 2006)

All the nurses are made familiar about the laws that govern the healthcare settings. It is the sole duty of a nurse to not get involved in any such activity that is against or prohibited by those laws. Moreover, if any of the nurses find that their superiors or the management is involved in something unlawful, then it is their duty as well as an obligation to report to the immediate authority about such conduct to take some legal or relevant action against them (Atkins, Britton, & Lacey, 2014).

Nurses must respect the dignity, culture, ethnicity, values and beliefs of people receiving care and treatment, and of their colleagues (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, Code of Professional Conduct for Nurses in Australia, 2006).

Every patient belongs to a different background and culture, thus having his own values, beliefs and ethnicity. Hence while providing or planning for care, it is the duty of a nurse to protect as well as promote the interests of the patients and should not always provide equitable care to all. There level of care and concern should never be influenced by any discriminatory behavior. Along with that, they must respect the human rights of every individual and should never contravene the stated law.

Nurses treat personal information obtained in a professional capacity as private and confidential (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, Code of Professional Conduct for Nurses in Australia, 2006)

A patient provides his/her personal details with a trust that the health care professionals will not use it for a relevant purpose. Hence, it is an obligation for the nurses to keep the gathered information as confidential and should not leak it out unless required by the law. This information should only be disclosed to the healthcare professionals till the time it is being used for clinical purposes and decisions.

Nurses provide impartial, honest and accurate information in relation to nursing care and health care products (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, Code of Professional Conduct for Nurses in Australia, 2006)

Nursing is a selfless profession and the nurses should always provide full information about their actions and the products that being used on the patients. They must be informed about the advantages as well as the disadvantages of using the product. Nurses should never misinterpret, exploit or mislead an individual in any form. Moreover, the nurses must undertake any action that is not based on any commercial benefit.

Nurses support the health, wellbeing and informed decision making of people requiring or receiving care (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, Code of Professional Conduct for Nurses in Australia, 2006)

It is the legal right of a person to take decision about the level of care that he is receiving. No one better than the patient himself is aware about what is right and what is wrong for him. Hence, a nurse should always communicate and advise the patient as well as his family members about the recommended level of care, and must respect their decisions without forcing them in any manner. Also, in such cases, where a person (minor or major) is unable to take decisions or unwilling to speak independently, then the nurses should ensure that their actions and perceptions are witnessed by an advocate.

Nurses promote and preserve the trust and privilege inherent in the relationship between nurses and people receiving care (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, Code of Professional Conduct for Nurses in Australia, 2006)

A patient who is receiving a care, always trust that whatever he is receiving is in his best interest. It is an implied relation and a nurse should always maintain a balance in this relation. There are several instances where a patient has limited knowledge and in case, he is unable to the trust the level of care that he is receiving will make him even more vulnerable, which will in-turn impact their health. Thus, it is the duty of a nurse to take reasonable measures to maintain a balance and trust in this relationship. Nurses should never perform with dual relationship because in some way or the other, it compromises the level of care.

Nurses maintain and build on the community’s trust and confidence in the nursing profession (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, Code of Professional Conduct for Nurses in Australia, 2006)

Nurses are responsible to maintain their reputation by building public confidence and trust. It is a fact that if a nurse does not possess good reputation, the patients will refrain from receiving the healthcare benefits in any form. The actions taken by a nurse directly impacts their reputation. If the actions of a nurse are unethical and unlawful, it is likely that it will impact the delivery of care and health benefits.

Nurses must practice nursing reflectively and ethically (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, Code of Professional Conduct for Nurses in Australia, 2006)

Last but not the least, a nurse is requires to follow all the above codes and provide their maximum contribution towards the healthcare settings. It is important to understand that if a nurse is performing unprofessionally will not only impact his/her reputation, but also will abuse the healthcare settings in one way or the other.

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