Thursday 23rd October 2008
The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council has released new national codes of ethics and professional conduct for nurses and midwives, outlining appropriate moral, ethical and professional behaviour.
The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council’s new national codes of ethics and professional conduct for nurses and midwives were launched at Parliament House, Canberra, in August.
Senator Jan McLucas, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing, and Rosemary Bryant, Commonwealth Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, launched the new codes, which not only establish strengthened standards of accountability for nurses and midwives but also create an excellent platform for implementation of the proposed national registration and accreditation system that will oversee nurses, midwives, doctors, dentists and other health professionals from 2010.
The codes are the result of a joint project between the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council (ANMC), the Australian Nursing Federation, the Royal College of Nursing, Australia and the Australian College of Midwives. The revised nurses’ code of ethics and conduct will cover more than 200,000 nurses practising nationally and, for the first time, Australia’s 15,000 midwives will come under their own separate codes.
The codes provide an outline for appropriate moral, ethical and professional behaviour for nurses and midwives. They also underpin legislative and educational standards in each state and territory and offer clear mechanisms for Nursing and Midwifery Regulatory Authorities’ management of professional misconduct and other disciplinary matters.
Critically, the codes provide the public with plain English explanations of the behaviour and conduct they can expect from nurses and midwives, and clearly present to the general community nursing’s and midwifery’s commitment to safe, ethical and professional practice.
ANMC Chief Executive Officer Karen Cook said the decision to strengthen the nurses’ codes of ethics and conduct reflected the growing need for transparency and open disclosure in healthcare, while the development of separate codes for midwives recognised the distinct practices of the midwifery profession.
NSWNA Assistant General Secretary, Judith Kiejda, said the new codes were an important step forward for the profession.
‘The revised National Code of Ethics and Conduct for Nurses, and the new Code for Midwives, are vital resources for nurses and midwives practising in an increasingly complex profession,’ she said.
‘As health professionals, nurses and midwives are expected to uphold higher standards of behaviour and conduct in all domains of their professional lives than would be expected from general members of the community.
‘We are particularly excited about the long overdue code of ethics and conduct specific to midwives. We hope all midwives and nurses will participate in the practise and promotion of these guidelines and use them in the development of our profession and future policy.’
Code of Ethics for Nurses
Code of Professional Conduct for Nurses
Code of Ethics for Midwives
Code of Professional Conduct for Midwives
Fuller explanations are set out in the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council booklets, which can be downloaded from: www.anmc.org.au