Autonomy, Responsibility and the Italian Code of Deontology for Nurses
Nursing Ethics 2007 January; 14(1): 83-98
This article is a first assessment of the Italian Code of deontology for nurses (revised in 1999) on the basis of data collected from focus groups with nurses taking part in the Ethical Codes in Nursing (ECN) project. We illustrate the professional context in which the Code was introduced and explain why the 1999 revision was necessary in the light of changes affecting the Italian nursing profession. The most remarkable findings concern professional autonomy and responsibility, and how the Code is thought of as a set of guidelines for nursing practice. We discuss these issues, underlining that the 1999 Code represents a valuable instrument for ethical reflection and examination, a stimulus for putting the moral sense of the nursing profession into action, and that it represents a new era for professional nursing practice in Italy. The results of the analysis also deserve further qualitative study and future consideration.
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