The Nonnegotiable Nature of the ANA Code for Nurses with Interpretive Statements

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Effective Date: December 8, 1994
Status: Revised Position Statement
Originated by: ANA Committee on Ethics, 1983, rev. 1984
Revised by: ANA Center for Ethics and Human Rights
Adopted by: ANA Board of Directors

Related Past Action:
Code for Nurses with Interpretive Statements, 1985


The American Nurses Association's (ANA) Code for Nurses with Interpretive Statements (Code for Nurses) explicates the goals, values and ethical precepts that direct the profession of nursing. The ANA believes the Code for Nurses is nonnegotiable and that each nurse has an obligation to uphold and adhere to the code of ethics.

Background: Health care ethics is concerned with the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of health care professionals, institutions of care, and clients. Upon entering the profession of nursing, nurses accept the responsibilities and trust that have accrued to nursing over the years and also the obligation to adhere to the professions's code for ethics. The Code for Nurses, published by the American Nurses Association, is the standard by which ethical conduct is guided and evaluated by the profession. It provides a framework within which nurses can make ethical decisions and discharge their professional responsibilities to the public, to other members of the health team, and to the profession.

The Code for Nurses is not open to negotiation in employment settings, nor is it permissible for individuals, groups of nurses, or interested parties to adapt or change the language of this code. The Code for Nurses encompassess all nursing activities and may supersede specific policies of institutions, of employers, or of practices. Therefore, the content of the Code for Nurses with Interpretive Statements is nonnegotiable.