By: Group 18

Cody Elsegood
Lindsay Kozar
Ashley Frendo-Cumbo
Megan Scott

Code of Ethics for Registared Nurses

The Canadian Nurses Association created the Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses. The code was created as a guide for the ethical values of nurse. It was developed by nurses for nurses to address ways to deal with challenges that may arise in the health care setting ethically. It was created by other nurses for future nurses. Ethical nursing practice includes nurses upholding all ethical responsibilities. Nurses are held accountable for their ethical responsibilities within their professional relationships with individuals, families, groups, populations, communities and colleagues. The Code of Ethics is organized into 2 parts. The first part is “Nursing Values and Ethical Responsibilities. There are 7 primary values, the values are; providing safe, compassionate competent and ethical care, promoting health and well-being, promoting and respecting informed decision making, preserving dignity, maintaining privacy and confidentiality, promoting justice, being accountable. The second part is called “Ethical Endeavors”; this section describes endeavors that nurses can be a part of in order to fight things such as social inequities. This Code is used as a guide line for all registered nurses and is to be used to help nurses throughout their career to overcome any ethical dilemmas that they may encounter.
Link to CNA Code of Ethics

Ethical Nursing Scenarios from the College of Nurses of Ontario
Videos About Ethics in Nursing

These scenarios were made by the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) to expose the different forms of abuse that clients can face when placed under the care and responsibility of a nurse. They expose neglect, financial abuse, physical abuse, verbal abuse and sexual abuse in order for proper recognition and prevention to take place. The CNO stresses that in abuse prevention, one abuse case is one too many (College of Nurses of Ontario, 2006, April 28).

Scott's Story
This video is only one example of many in which ethics are ignored in the nursing profession. The client Scott suffers from a permanent condition called Multiple Sclerosis which is a central nervous system disorder that can cause severe or acute muscle spasms, and speech disorders (Weil Medical College of Cornell University, 2002, p. 796). While under the care of nurses, Scott was neglected and emotionally abused. Although the abuse was unintentional, the nurses who were responsible for Scott’s care neglected to open his food dishes and help him to eat, to provide him with the proper equipment needed to request help in his condition such as an accessible call bell, as well as neglected to listen to what he needed to say.
It is important to stop nurses from inflicting physical, emotional, verbal, or sexual abuse on a client by ensuring that that any unethical incidences with nurses are reported. This can be done through the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) which has the main goal to "protect the public's right to quality nursing services by providing leadership to the nursing profession in self-regulation"(College of Nurses of Ontario, 1999). Through following ethical standards and guidelines provided by the CNO and the CNA, abuse cases like Scott’s can be prevented.


Figure.1 (1983). Code Gray: Ethical Dilemmas in Nursing. Source:

The Impact of Ethical Issues on Patients and Nurses

Religious and cultural beliefs of patients may come in conflict with the health care provider’s beliefs and these ethical issues have negative impacts on both parties. In any nurse-patient encounter the therapeutic relationship is essential, however, this relationship will be under strain from the stress caused by an ethical issue (Linnard-Palmer & Kools, 2005, p.48).
This in-turn will cause an emotional experience for both the nurse and client which can result in:
- Feelings of confusion, stress, and tension as a result of the power struggle (p.49)
- A danger to the patient’s health as he or she may leave the facility if he or she feel’s persuaded into consent (p.49)
- Feelings of confliction on the nurse’s behalf while attempting to respect both the cultural beliefs of the patient and the obligations of his or her profession (p.52)
Each individual is affected by the “storm” of emotional and moral distress, however, knowledge on how to act when working in culturally sensitive situations may be gained by the nurse (p.53-54). With assistance from the ethics committee and others, nurses will have an additional ability to provide a positive and beneficial caring experience, despite the difficulty of the situation and as a result some ethical conflicts may be able to be avoided.


Ways to Protect Yourself against Conflicts of Ethics
There are lots of different scenarios that can arise during your nursing practice that may cause conflicts that threaten your practice some of these scenarios could be:

  • Appearance before the College of Nurses of Ontario as a result of a letter of complaint, a report or other investigations,
  • Appearances as a witness at an inquest or inquiry resulting from a job related incident,
  • Appearances under subpoena as a witness in matters arising under the Nursing Act, 1991,
  • Witness in a court proceeding that concerns an incident relating to the profession of nursing,
  • Sexual harassment, and
  • Other individual employment-related matters.

To protect yourself from losing your registration with the College of Nurses because of legal suits the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario includes Liability Protection within their membership. This protection is offered by the Canadian Nurses Protection Agency and is available to RN members of the RNAO know their legal risks and may have access to assistance when dealing in legal matters concerning their profession.
For more information, call CNPS at 1-800-267-3390 or visit its website at


Achtenberg, B. (1983). Code Gray: Ethical Dilemmas in Nursing [Photograph]. Retrieved from

College of Nurses of Ontario (1999). Nursing and You, 1(3). Retrieved from

College of Nurses of Ontario (2006, April 28). Abuse Prevention: One Is One Too Many. Retrieved from

Linnard-Palmer, L., & Kools, S. (2005). Parents’ refusal of medical treatment for cultural or religious beliefs: an ethnographic study of health care professionals’ experiences. Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing, 22(1), 48-57. doi: 10.1177/1043454204270263

Registered Nurses' Association of Ontaro. (n.d.) Liability protection. Member Benefits. Toronto: Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario.

Weil Medical College of Cornell University (2002). In A.M. Gotto (Ed.). The Cornell Illustrated Encyclopedia of Health: The Definitive Home Medical Reference. Washington, D.C.:LifeLine Press