A survey of registered nurses' perceptions of the code of professional conduct in Hong Kong

Janita P C Chau*, Lai Wah Lam, May H L Lui, Wan Yim Ip, Wai Tong Chien, Iris F K Lee, David Thompson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To examine the perceptions of the code of professional conduct among practising registered nurses in Hong Kong. Background: A code of professional conduct is intended to guide nurses in their practice and to ensure congruence with nursing goals and objectives. Such a code for nurses in Hong Kong has been in effect for two decades but, to date, no study has examined the perceptions of it among practising nurses. Design: A survey of 320 practising registered nurses working in a hospital cluster in Hong Kong (mean postregistration experience = 11.8 years). Methods: A questionnaire developed to assess nurses' perceptions of the Code of Professional Conduct devised by the Nursing Council of Hong Kong. Results: Providing safe and competent care, practising in accordance with the law and maintaining agreed standards were ranked in order as the three most important aspects. Safeguarding informed decision-making for patients who were mentally incapacitated or unable to speak for themselves, participating in continuing nursing education and raising objections to practices that compromise safe and appropriate care were considered the most challenging aspects to achieve in professional nursing practice. Conclusions: To educate nurses to become more assertive in safeguarding patients' rights and to encourage and support lifelong learning remains a major challenge in professional nursing practice. The profession and statutory bodies need to consider how best to enable practising nurses to address these issues. Relevance to clinical practice: Examining the perceptions of practising nurses about the professional code is necessary to ensure that the profession is prepared to meet the ever-changing demands and expectations of the public whom it claims to serve.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3527-3534
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number23-24
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2010


  • Clinical
  • Nurses
  • Nursing practice
  • Professional development
  • Regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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