The Codes are founded on evidence-based practice and specify the legal requirements, professional behaviour and conduct expectations for all nurses and midwives across Australia, in all practice settings. The Codes will replace the existing Code of Professional Conduct for Nurses, Code of Professional Conduct for Midwives, and the professional boundaries documents.
The Board’s intention is that the new Codes are up to date, useful, in context, and relevant to the National Scheme. The Codes are based on seven principles and aligning value statements. These principles being covered by one of the following four domains:
- Practise legally;
- Practise safely, effectively and collaboratively;
- Act with professional integrity; and
- Promote health and wellbeing.
The significance of a practitioner’s obligation to practise legally is reinforced through the first principle in the Codes, ‘Legal Compliance’ and its value statement. Practising legally encompasses practitioners’ professional obligations under the state and territory specific Health Practitioners Regulation National Law, the Board’s registration standards and all other laws. This domain also addresses the requirement for practitioners to comply with child abuse, neglect and aged abuse mandatory reporting obligations.
The Codes have a specific section on bullying and harassment, clearly stating a zero -tolerance approach towards such behaviours. The Codes also strongly promote cultural safety and respectfulness, concentrated on moving the health system towards an accessible environment free from racism and inequality.
Nurses and midwives are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the Codes prior to March 2018. If a nurse/ midwife holds a dual qualification then both Codes will apply. The new Codes are available here.