Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements

Kevin D. Hook, MA, MSN, CRNP, and Gladys B. White, PhD, RN



As nurses face challenges with their roles as health care providers in the face of the ever-changing health care system in the U.S., their need for guidance regarding ethical decision-making has increased. Although nursing has a long history of an "ethic of care," embodied in prior Codes of Ethics, the context in which nurses practice, educate, research and lead has changed and expanded. Some historical concepts, such as patient advocacy, have been expanded and new concepts, such as duty to self, have been added. In addition, nurses fill broader roles than those historically performed at the bedside. For this reason, nurses may need guidance with ethical decision-making as they perform as administrators, researchers, and policy makers.

Purpose/Goal: To familiarize the nurse with the nine major provisions of the code with the accompanying interpretive statements.


1. Discuss the relationship between Codes of Ethics and Professional Identity.
2. Describe a brief history of the Code of Ethics for Nurses, the revision process and reasons for the current changes.
3. List the nine provisions of the 2001 Code of Ethics for Nurses.
4. Identify the key interpretive statements.
5. Explain the significance of the Code in guiding and empowering nurses in their practice and workplace (e.g., clinical practice, education, research, administration).
6. Relate the 2001 Code of Ethics for Nurses to their own nursing practice within and without the community of nursing and to the practice of nursing within their workplace.


Kevin D. Hook, MA, MSN, CRNP, is the Coordinator of Advanced Practice Nursing and Ethics Integration, Golden Living, Ft. Smith, Arkansas. Gladys B. White, PhD, RN is the former Director for the Center for Ethics and Human Rights. ANA Reviewer: Martha Turner, PhD, RN-BC, NEA-BC, is Assistant Director for Ethics and Human Rights, ANA.

The planners and author of this CNE activity have disclosed no financial relationships with any commercial companies pertaining to this activity.

Contact Hours: 2.04

Expiration Date: 12/31/2012


Member Price: $15.00
Non-Member Price: $20.00

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