Development of a Single Code of Ethics

Consultation Type:
Closed with Summary

Consultation Overview

NSCN obtained feedback on the development of a unified code of ethics applicable to Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), Registered Nurses (RNs) and Nurse Practitioners (NPs) in Nova Scotia. This code of ethics would replace the current codes of ethics in use from the legacy Colleges; the Code of Ethics for Licensed Practical Nurses in Canada (2013), and the Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses (2017)

Consultation Participation and Response

We requested feedback through email, our website, social media and newsletter using an online survey from members of the public, registrants, regulatory bodies, and the Regulated Health Professions Network. Two hundred and forty stakeholders responded. LPN 40.00%, RN 47.08%, NP 2.08%, former registrant 1.25%, member of the public 0.42%, and professional regulators 9.17%.

Stakeholders provided feedback on the layout, suggested content and design of a unified code of ethics, specifically a design that is clear, concise and has practical examples. Additionally, stakeholders also commented that the content of a unified code of ethics would include a framework of the values of the profession and the expected behaviours and attitudes that practitioners should present. It was identified that the unified code of ethics should address significant ethical issues, trends and developments in the current healthcare environment such as cultural competence, diversity and inclusion, and palliation or end of life. The feedback on the content was collated and themed accordingly. The themes included: client-centered care that demonstrates respect and dignity; professionalism; provision of safe, competent and ethical practice; quality practice environments; and communication and confidentiality.

Impact on the Project

The feedback received from this survey, in addition to literature reviews and environmental scans, will be considered and incorporated as appropriate when developing the unified code of ethics for all nurses.

We also received additional feedback outside the scope of our unified code of ethics project. Specifically, stakeholders were seeking information directly related to the scope of employment. It is not within the mandate of NSCN to provide guidance on employment practices. We develop regulatory professional practice resources, guide nurses in all practice contexts and encourage nurses to collaborate with employers and unions to develop workable solutions to employment practices.

Consultation Next Steps

The next steps of this project are the development of the unified code of ethics and consultation on the NSCN by-laws. This consultation will take place in 2023 and stakeholders will be informed of the opportunity to participate through email, our newsletter, website and social media.

The new code of ethics is expected to be in effect in 2024 following approval by the NSCN Board. There will be a roll out of the code of ethics prior to the effective date on our website, through the newsletter, social media and by email to subscribers. Additionally, educational materials will be developed and rolled out when it is complete.


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