On your best behaviour: new conduct codes commence
New codes of conduct for all nurses and midwives in Australia took effect on 1 March 2018. The codes set out the legal requirements, professional behaviour and conduct expectations for all nurses and midwives in all practice settings.
The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) sets the standards, codes and guidelines, which together establish the requirements for professional and safe nursing and midwifery practice in Australia. NMBA Chair Associate Professor Lynette Cusack RN said the codes are vital guidance to ensure safe nursing and midwifery care. "Nursing and midwifery are hugely trusted professions in our community and the purpose of the codes of conduct is to make sure that daily practice meets that trust," she said. "All nurses and midwives share the responsibility of meeting that trust, and the codes provide guidance to do that."
The new codes incorporate professional boundaries expectations, which are no longer separate documents. They also provide more guidance around:
- bullying and harassment,
- professional relationships,
- cultural practice and respectful relationships,
- lack of care,
- financial arrangements, and
- professional behaviour.
The codes can be viewed on the professional standards section of the NMBA website, alongside a suite of resources the NMBA has developed to support nurses and midwives to get to know their new codes, including conduct case studies and fact sheets. The NMBA has also launched a video promoting the values and principles of the codes, and a vodcast presentation explaining the key conduct expectations. The NMBA is asking nurses and midwives to view these resources and reflect on how the new codes of conduct relate to their practice, which can count towards continuing professional development (CPD) hours.
A/Prof. Cusack encouraged all nurses and midwives to reflect on the changes to conduct expectations and their own practice. "Nurses and midwives need to meet the standards set in these codes, even if their employer also has a code of conduct," she said.
Also commencing from 1 March 2018 in Australia, the International Council of Nurses Code of ethics for nurses and the International Confederation of Midwives Code of ethics for midwives. These documents replace the NMBA Code of ethics for nurses - August 2008 and the NMBA Code of ethics for midwives - August 2008.
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