Nurses' Bill of Rights

This position statement was archived on 11/7/2012.  AMSN prefers to endorse the American Nurses Association (ANA) Nurses' Bill of Rights.

IT IS THE POSITION OF AMSN THAT:

  • The medical-surgical nurse has the right to provide care and services in a safe environment and in accordance with the Code of Ethics for Nurses. The nurse has the right to practice according to professional standards and within approved scopes of practice.
  • The medical-surgical nurse has the right to trusting relationships with the patients, families, and the multidisciplinary teams involved in meeting patient needs, and to be included in all discussions to maximize the effectiveness of patient care delivery.
  • The medical-surgical nurse has the right to employment that provides wages and benefits commensurate with the nurse's education, experience, and responsibilities. The nurse has the right to negotiate the conditions of employment as an individual or part of a collective group of nurses.
  • The medical-surgical nurse has the right to the resources and working conditions necessary to provide quality patient care, including reasonable shift assignments, adequate staffing levels, sufficient support, and appropriate supplies and equipment.
  • The medical-surgical nurse has the right to advocate freely and openly for quality patient care and a positive practice environment without fear of retribution.
  • The medical-surgical nurse has the right to educate the public about health issues. The nurse has the right to seek alliances with other patient-oriented groups and build community coalitions.
  • The medical-surgical nurse has the right to a balance between personal and professional roles.

OVERVIEW:

In 2001, the American Nurses Association (ANA) published the Bill of Rights for Registered Nurses after the need for such a document was identified during the 2000 ANA Nursing Staffing Summit. This publication is based on the belief that nurses can advocate more effectively for the rights of patients if they have critical information about their own rights. The Bill of Rights for Registered Nurses is necessary for the protection of the dignity and autonomy of nurses in the workplace.

RATIONALE:

AMSN supports the medical-surgical nurse's education in the professional role and in the premises presented in the Bill of Rights for Registered Nurse as a foundation for discussion of patient and worker safety concerns by the nurse and the health care employer.

DEFINITION:

The Bill of Rights for Registered Nurses is a summary of the rights considered essential to medical-surgical nurses and their practice. The foundation of the document is the following ANA publications: Nursing's Social Policy Statement, the Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements, and the Standards for Clinical Practice. Federal and state employment laws also were reviewed and incorporated into the Bill of Rights.

REFERENCES:

American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO. (1998). AFSCME nurse's bill of rights. Retrieved September 9, 2009, from http://www.afscme.org/workers/6570.cfm

American Nurses Association. (2008). Bill of rights FAQ. Retrieved September 9, 2009, from http://www.nursingworld.org/EspeciallyForYou/staffnurses/FAQs.aspx