ABSTRACT: Licensed registered nurses are trusted by society and the health care system to be competently skilled and to practice with ethical integrity. Nurses are expected not only to execute professional responsibilities and tasks within their scope of practice but also to root that practice in the art and science of nursing that is tethered by the Code of Ethics. As a guiding attribute of the profession, the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics is a dynamic document that reflects professional core values. The purpose of this article is to provide a foundational discussion of nursing’s ethical norms by presenting information that will help a nurse to understand the language and concepts in the Code of Ethics. Foundational information includes the construction of the Code, including sociological and historical influences; explanations of terminology used in the Code; an analysis of the Code; and how to use the Code in the course of daily work.
Rebecca B. Porter, PhD, RN, Department of Nursing, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.
The author declares no conflicts of interest.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Rebecca B. Porter, PhD, RN, Nursing Administration, T-100 General Hospital, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, 200 Hawkins Drive, Iowa City, IA 52242. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org