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The Nurses' Deontological Code (2009)
THE CODE OF ETHICS AND CONDUCT
Approved the Executive Board of the Federazione Nazionale Collegi IPASVI
with the deliberation n. 1/09 of 10.01.2009 and by the National Council of the Federazione
Nazionale Collegi IPASVI during the meeting held in Rome on 17.01.09
Item 1Article 1
A nurse is a healthcare professional in charge of nursing care.
Nursing is service to the person, families and the community, provided through specific, autonomous and complementary interventions of intellectual, technical-scientific, managerial, relational and educational nature.
Nurses have the responsibility to assist, look after and take care of people in the respect for the individual’s life, health, freedom and dignity.
Nurses provide care according to the principles of equity and fairness, taking into account the ethical, religious and cultural values, as well as the gender and the social conditions of the person.
The respect for the fundamental human rights and the ethical principles of the profession is an essential condition to practice nursing.
Nurses consider health as a fundamental gift for the person, as well as the best interest of the entire community and engage in protecting it through prevention, care, rehabilitation and palliation.
Item 2Article 7
Nurses act in the best interest of the patient, by promoting his/her resources in order to help him/her achieve the highest possible level of autonomy, especially when the patient is disabled, disadvantaged or fragile.
In situations of conflict, caused by divergent ethical opinions, nurses do their best to find a solution through dialogue. In the event of a persistent request for an action that goes against the ethical principles of the profession or personal values, nurses may avail themselves of the clause of conscience, to ensure the patient’s safety and life.
During their practice, nurses undertake to work prudently to avoid causing any harm.
Nurses should use available resources sensibly, by optimising their allocation and making reasonable choices.
Item 3Article 11
Nurses perform evidence-based practice and refresh their knowledge and competences by means of life-long education, critical reflection on experience and research, they design, carry out and take part in educational activities and promote, start and take part in research activities and disseminate the findings.
Nurses understand the value of research, and clinical and nursing trials in enhancing knowledge and providing better outcomes for patients.
Nurses take on responsibility proportionally to their level of competence and if necessary, seek the intervention or advice of nurse practitioners or specialists. They give advice by putting their knowledge and skills at the disposal of the professional community.
Nurses recognize that both interaction among professionals and inter-professional integration are essential conditions that allow to meet all the patient’s needs.
Nurses should ask for training and/or supervision for practices that are new or for which they have no experience.
Nurses should be proactive in analyzing the ethical dilemmas they experience in their everyday practice and seek ethical advice, and thus help deepen bioethical reflection.
Nurses, in their professional practice refuse any conditioning, pressure or interest deriving from the patient, the family, other health workers, companies, associations or organizations.
In situations of emergency-urgency, nurses provide first aid and the necessary care. In the event of a disaster, nurses put themselves at the disposal of the competent authorities.
Item 4Article 19
Nurses promote healthy lifestyles, disseminate the value of the culture of health and of protecting the environment, also by means of information and education. To this end, they support the network of contacts between services and providers.
Nurses listen to, inform, and involve patients and together they assess their healthcare needs, in order to provide the proper level of care and help patients make their own choices.
Nurses, by respecting the patients’ will, favour their relationships with the community and with their next of kin, by involving them in their healthcare plan. Nurses consider both the intercultural dimension and the healthcare needs linked to it.
Nurses know the diagnostic-therapeutic project due to its influence on the nursing process and on the relations with the patient.
Nurses understand the value of integrated multi-professional information and do their best so that patients have all the necessary information for their daily life.
Nurses help and support patients in their choices, providing healthcare information regarding their diagnostic-therapeutic projects and adapting their communication so that they can easily understand.
Nurses respect the patient’s conscious and explicit will of not wanting to be informed on his/her state of health, as long as this does not endanger the patient and other people.
Nurses do not disclose any confidential information on the patients. When gathering, handling and reporting data on patients, nurses limit themselves only to what is relevant to the nursing process.
Nurses ensure the continuity of care also by contributing to the creation of a network of inter-professional contacts and of an effective use of computer technology.
Nurses respect professional secrecy not just because it is a legal obligation, but because they are deeply convinced that this is a concrete expression of their relation with patients built on trust.
Nurses contribute to the promotion of better safety conditions for patients and their families and to the development of the culture of learning from errors. They take part in clinical risk management initiatives.
Nurses do their best so that they resort to constraint only in exceptional cases, supported by medical prescription or by documented healthcare exams.
With regard to healthcare, diagnostic-therapeutic and experimental decisions, nurses do their best so that the opinion of a minor is taken into consideration according to his/her age and level of maturity.
Nurses help protect patients who find themselves in conditions that limit their development o expressions, when their family and context are not adequate for their needs.
When nurses notice any abuse or deprivation at the expense of the patient, they use all means to protect him/her and, if required, report the case to the competent authority.
Nurses must act to prevent and counter pain and relieve suffering. They must make sure that patients receive all the treatments they need.
Nurses continue to provide their services no matter how serious the patient’s clinical conditions may be and until the end of his/her life, understanding the importance of palliation and environmental, physical, psychological, relational and spiritual comfort.
Nurses defend the patients’ will to limit interventions that are not proportional to their clinical conditions and consistent with their declared conception of the quality of life.
When patients are unable to express their will, nurses take into account what they had previously clearly declared or documented.
Nurses must not perform or take part in interventions aiming at causing death, even when patients themselves request it.
Nurses support the patient’s family members and next of kin, especially during the terminal stage of the disease, upon death and in coping with bereavement.
Nurses promote information and education on the donation of blood, tissues and organs, as a gesture of solidarity and support donors and recipients.
Item 5Article 41
Nurses collaborate with their colleagues and other health workers, recognizing and valuing their specific contribution within the team.
Nurses protect their dignity and the dignity of their colleagues, through behaviour based on respect and solidarity.
Nurses report to their respective Nursing Council any abuse or unethical professional conduct of their colleagues.
Nurses protect their respectability and their name. They safeguard the prestige of the profession and practice it in an honest way.
Nurses are fair with their colleagues and other health workers.
When presenting advertisements, nurses must be inspired to transparency and follow the instructions given by their Nursing Council.
Item 6Article 47
Nurses, according to their level of responsibility, contribute to guide the policies and the development of the healthcare system, to ensure that the patient’s rights are respected, resources are sensibly and appropriately allocated and that the professional role is valued.
Nurses, according to their different levels of responsibility, in situations of deficiency or disorganization, report to those in charge of the professional services of the healthcare centre where they work or of the centre their patient belongs to.
Nurses, in the best interest of their patients, make up for the deficiencies and the disorganization that exceptionally occur in the centre they work for. They must abstain themselves from doing this, by producing documentary evidence, when the above deficiencies and disorganization are habitual or recurrent, or in any case systematically compromise their professional mandate.
To protect the public, nurses must report situations of unlawful practice of the nursing profession to their Nursing Council.
Nurses must report to their Nursing Council situations involving circumstances or the persistence of conditions that limit the quality of treatment and care or the dignity of professional practice.
Final ProvisionsThe ethical rules set out in this Code are binding; their non-observance is sanctioned by the Professional Council.
The Professional Councils stand surety for the professionals’ qualifications and for the competences they acquire and develop.
The provisions set out in this Code reflect the principles of the FEPI Code of Ethics and Conduct for European Nursing.