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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 53 Pa.B. 7346 (November 25, 2023).

49 Pa. Code § 21.18. Standards of nursing conduct.

§ 21.18. Standards of nursing conduct.

 (a)  A registered nurse shall:

   (1)  Undertake a specific practice only if the registered nurse has the necessary knowledge, preparation, experience and competency to properly execute the practice.

   (2)  Respect and consider, while providing nursing care, the individual’s right to freedom from psychological and physical abuse.

   (3)  Act to safeguard the patient from the incompetent, abusive or illegal practice of any individual.

   (4)  Safeguard the patient’s dignity, the right to privacy and the confidentiality of patient information. This standard does not prohibit or affect reporting responsibilities under 23 Pa.C.S. Chapter 63 (relating to the Child Protective Services Law), the Older Adults Protective Services Act (35 P.S. § §  10211—10224) and other statutes which may mandate reporting of this information.

   (5)  Document and maintain accurate records.

 (b)  A registered nurse may not:

   (1)  Knowingly aid, abet or assist another person to violate or circumvent a law or Board regulation.

   (2)  Discriminate, while providing nursing services, on the basis of age, marital status, sex, sexual preference, race, religion, diagnosis, socioeconomic status or disability.

   (3)  Knowingly permit another individual to use his license or temporary permit for any purpose or knowingly permit the unlicensed person under the registered nurse’s jurisdiction or supervision to misrepresent that the individual is a licensed nurse.

   (4)  Misappropriate equipment, materials, property, drugs or money from an employer or patient.

   (5)  Solicit, borrow or misappropriate money, materials or property from a patient or the patient’s family.

   (6)  Leave a nursing assignment prior to the proper reporting and notification to the appropriate department head or personnel of such an action.

   (7)  Knowingly abandon a patient in need of nursing care. Abandonment is defined as the intentional deserting of a patient for whom the nurse is responsible.

   (8)  Falsify or knowingly make incorrect entries into the patient’s record or other related documents.

   (9)  Engage in conduct defined as a sexual violation or sexual impropriety in the course of a professional relationship.

 (c)  A registered nurse who fails to comply with an obligation or prohibition under this section is subject to disciplinary and corrective measures under section 14 of the act (63 P.S. §  224).

 (d)  The Board may, in addition to any other disciplinary or corrective measure set forth in this section, levy appropriate civil penalties as authorized by section 13(b) of the act (63 P.S. §  223(b)) upon a nurse found to have engaged in conduct constituting a sexual impropriety or sexual violation.


   The provisions of this §  21.18 amended under section 2.1(k) of The Professional Nursing Law (63 P.S. §  212.1(k)).


   The provisions of this §  21.18 adopted April 30, 1993, effective May 1, 1993, 23 Pa.B. 2115; amended September 8, 2000, effective September 9, 2000, 30 Pa.B. 4730. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (261722) and (209951).

Cross References

   This section cited in 49 Pa. Code §  21.4a (relating to procedural matters); 49 Pa. Code §  21.288 (relating to CRNP standards of conduct); 49 Pa. Code §  21.369 (relating to general curriculum requirements); 49 Pa. Code §  21.803 (relating to applicability of rules relating to professional nurses); and 49 Pa. Code §  21.821 (relating to CNS standards of conduct).

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