The Code of Ethics articulates the ethical values and responsibilities that Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs)1 uphold and promote, and to which they are accountable. The Code serves to:
• guide LPNs’ ethical reflections and decision-making across all areas of licensed practical nurse
• inform the public about the ethical values and responsibilities of the LPN profession and convey the profession’s commitment to society.
LPNs’ primary responsibility is to the client within the context of an inter-professional collaborative environment. “Client” refers to an individual (or their designated representative(s), families, and groups).
Respect for the inherent dignity and rights of clients, colleagues and LPNs underpins the five ethical principles encompassed in the Code. These principles although distinct are inter-related and include:
1. Responsibility to the Public
2. Responsibility to Clients
3. Responsibility to the Profession
4. Responsibility to Colleagues
5. Responsibility to Oneself
LPNs use the Code of Ethics in conjunction with professional standards and competencies, workplace policies, and legal requirements that guide their practice and behaviour. In achieving these requirements, they fulfill their contract with society for ethical practice.
The Principles and Ethical Responsibilities are described on the following pages. The Principles are statements of the five ethical principles to which LPNs are held accountable. The Ethical Responsibilities that accompany each Principle are inter-related and are statements of expected professional conduct in LPN practice situations. The Principles and Ethical Responsibilities are not in any order of priority – collectively they reflect the LPNs’ overall commitment to society. Appendix A provides Guidelines for Ethical Decision-making