January 2019

New Code of Conduct clarifies patients’ rights and nurses’ accountabilities

Do you know what your patients expect from you as a regulated professional and a trusted partner in their health care?

CNO has developed a new Code of Conduct for nurses that reflects the expectations of both CNO as a regulator with a mandate to protect the public, and the public’s feedback about what they need from nurses.

This new practice standard will come into effect on Monday, Feb. 4, 2019. Starting then, you will be accountable to this standard.

The Code tells the public what to expect from nurses when receiving care. It is also an overarching standard that sets out the behaviours and conduct that you, as a nurse, are expected to follow.

The Code is more than a practice standard; it is a reflection of what the public expects of nurses. When we created the Code, it was important for us to include the public’s perspective. Through our comprehensive consultation with members of the public, nurses, educators, nurse employers, nursing associations, nursing unions and government, we listened and integrated their feedback and expectations into the Code.

To ensure Ontario’s culturally diverse population can read and use the Code, it will be translated into the top six languages (French, Mandarin, Cantonese, Punjabi, Spanish and Tagalog) spoken in this province.

While most of the accountabilities in the Code come from current practice standards, we have added a few new ones to reflect current evidence, legislation, technology and situations you may encounter in different practice settings. For example, expectations related to social media, providing timely nursing care, and gaps impacting patient care and health outcomes in different communities.

The code is divided into six principles:

1.      Nurses respect the dignity of patients and treat them as individuals

2.      Nurses work together to promote patient well-being

3.      Nurses maintain patients’ trust by providing safe and competent care

4.      Nurses work respectfully with colleagues to best meet patients’ needs

5.      Nurses act with integrity to maintain patients’ trust

6.      Nurses maintain public confidence in the nursing profession

To help you understand how to apply the Code, we have developed FAQs and a document showing how the Code’s accountabilities link to other CNO practice standards and guidelines. We will also host teleconferences to review case studies that support the Code’s application. Registration is now open.

Visit www.cno.org/codeofconduct to learn more about the Code and access the new resources. If you have specific questions related to the Code, contact Practice Support.

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