National Association of Neonatal Nurses logo.

NANN Code of Ethics

Ethical behavior is integral to the foundation of nursing. NANN endorses the Code of Ethics for Nurses established by the American Nurses Association (ANA). Because of the expanding nature of the practice of neonatal nursing and the involvement of the profession in issues of direct concern to society, NANN’s Code of Ethics was developed to define the standard for our personal conduct with the public, our patients, and each other.

Members of NANN accept the ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses as well as our Fundamental Nursing Principles in Patient Care and Fundamental Professional Principles for Participation in the Association.

The goal of the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN) is to enable neonatal nurses to alleviate suffering and protect, promote and restore health to infants and their families. Neonatal nurses provide nursing care to a very vulnerable population in an environment that is respectful of others, adaptive to change and accountable for outcomes.

According to the American Nurses Association (ANA), “individuals who become nurses are expected to adhere to the ideals and moral norms of the profession and also to embrace them as a part of what it means to be a nurse. The ethical tradition of nursing is self-reflective, enduring, and distinctive. A code of ethics makes explicit the primary goals, values, and obligations of the profession.”

Ethical behavior is an integral part of the foundation of nursing. NANN endorses the Code of Ethics for Nurses established by ANA. Because of the expanding nature of the practice of neonatal nursing and the involvement of the profession in issues of direct concern to society, the following code of ethics was developed to define the standard for our personal conduct with the public, our patients and each other. This document, along with the ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses, defines the professional and behavioral standards and values of NANN and its members. The association and its members will utilize these principles and provisions to advance the profession, upholding its integrity and dignity. Members of NANN accept the ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses as well as the following fundamental principles and use these to advance the profession, upholding its integrity and dignity.

Fundamental Nursing Principles in Patient Care

  1. The worth, integrity, dignity, uniqueness and human rights of patients, employers, colleagues, students, employees, parents and families of the infant will be respected regardless of ethnicity, gender, social/economic status or physical or mental challenges.
  2. Knowledge and skills will be used for the advancement of human welfare with consideration and respect for individual differences.
  3. The nurse’s primary responsibility is to the patient, whether an individual, group or family. Nurses strive to provide an environment of physical, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being.
  4. Neonatal nurses will respect family autonomy and strive to insure families have accurate, complete and understandable information in order to make informed decisions
  5. Neonatal nurses maintain their professional integrity when resolving conflicts, always insuring that patients’ safety and best interests are protected.
  6. Neonatal nurses insure patients’ and families’ rights and privacy are maintained. Neonatal nurses understand that they have a duty to maintain the confidentiality of all health care information. Neonatal Nurses adhere to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA).
  7. Neonatal nurses insure that professionals working in collaboration with them are competent to practice. Reporting of questionable or impaired practice and concerning behavior is essential to protect patients and the profession.
  8. Neonatal nurses take accountability and responsibility for their own practice and educational needs to maintain competence and professional growth. They are accountable to the decisions they make and routinely assess their own competence.
  9. Neonatal nurses enhance their environment and advance the profession through active participation in policy development and professional involvement at the local, state and national level. They are active in professional organizations and take leadership roles in these organizations as well as in their institutions.

Fundamental Professional Principles for Participation in the Association

  1. The profession of neonatal nursing, as represented by NANN and its members, is responsible for articulating neonatal “nursing values, the integrity of the profession and its practice and for shaping social policy” (ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses–Provision 9).
  2. All interactions will be honest and impartial, respecting the rights of those involved.
  3. Members and staff respect the unique contributions of everyone they interact with and maintain caring, professional relationships.
  4. As members of NANN, neonatal nurses are advocates for the profession of neonatal nursing and support the aims of the association. It is the leaders’ responsibility to communicate and affirm the values of the profession to the members.
  5. Members of NANN collaborate with other individuals and groups to address the needs of infants and their families. Collaboration is done in an environment of mutual trust, recognition, shared decision-making, open dialogue and respect.
  6. Members endeavor to expand their professional knowledge and strive to increase the awareness and prestige of the profession of neonatal nurses through shared resources, commercials, public service, knowledge development, dissemination and application to practice. They recognize a duty to the public to propagate a true understanding of the specialty. They avoid premature, false, misleading, and exaggerated statements and discourage any actions contrary to the welfare of humankind.
  7. Members are expected to communicate knowledge obtained in their research through discussions with their peers and through publications in the professional literature.
  8. Members will strive for accuracy in the reporting and interpretation of their observations, and nursing care along with proper citation of pertinent previous contributions of others.
  9. Members and staff will endeavor to recognize conflicts of interest and to avoid the abuse of privileged positions/tasks. All perceived and actual conflicts of interest will be disclosed and in some situations the member may need to withdraw from further participation. Such privileged positions include, but are not limited to:
    1. The review and evaluation of manuscripts and grant applications,
    2. Evaluation of candidates for employment or promotion,
    3. NANN committee or staff positions,
    4. Service in consulting activities,
    5. Access to and information regarding specimen materials and medical records,
    6. Student guidance, and,
    7. Simultaneous service in profit-making and not-for-profit organizations.
  10. Members and staff accept their responsibility to disseminate any unique materials developed from published data so as to be in adherence with proprietary rights and copyright laws.
  11. Members recognize their responsibilities to students, and other associates working under their supervision to consider them colleagues, to provide training and education where required, and to assign appropriate recognition for their contributions. By direction and example these colleagues should be taught adherence to the ethical standards herein described.
  12. Members and staff shall not represent any position as being that of NANN unless the position has been approved by the Association and its Board of Directors.
  13. Members of NANN collaborate with other individuals and groups to address the needs of infants and their families. Collaboration is done in an environment of mutual trust, recognition, shared decision-making, open dialogue, and respect.
  14. When representing NANN, members and staff must recognize and maintain boundaries that maintain professional relationships.
  15. Members of NANN recognize the Association’s responsibility to consider breaches of this Code of Ethics and to recommend appropriate responses according to Article IV, Section 3 of the Bylaws.
  16. Neonatal nurses accepting membership in NANN by that action and all affiliate members agree to abide by this Code of Ethics and the code established by the ANA.