Code for Nurses with Interpretive Statements

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American Nurses' Association

1950, revised 1976, 1985, 2001


The 1985 Code for Nurses is a revised version of the code adopted by the American Nurses' Association (ANA) in 1950. The eleven-point code and the accompanying interpretive statements provide a framework for ethical decision making that includes several noteworthy aspects: (1) It identifies the values and beliefs that undergird the ethical standards;(2) it encompasses a breadth of social and professional concerns; (3) it manifests an awareness of the ethical implications of shifting professional roles and of the complexity of modern health care; and (4) it goes beyond prescriptive statements regarding personal and professional conduct by advocating a sense of accountability to the client.

Although the text of the code remains essentially unchanged from the 1976 revision, both the organization and the text of the interpretive statements have been modified somewhat. Among the changes: (1) The discussion of human dignity following point 1 is expanded and includes specific statements that "the nurse does not act deliberately to terminate the life of any person," but that nurses may provide symptomatic intervention to dying clients "even when the interventions entail substantial risks of hastening death"; and (2) a statement under point 11 in the 1976 code, that "quality health care is mandated as a right to all citizens," has been deleted. The 2001 ANA Code for Nurses and the text of selected interpretive statements are at <>.

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Code for Nurses with Interpretive Statements

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