health disparities, nursing ethics, social justice, social reform, standards of practice



  1. Davison, Colleen M. BEd, MPH
  2. Edwards, Nancy PhD, RN
  3. Webber, June PhD, RN
  4. Robinson, Sheila PhD, RN


Betty Bekemeier and Patricia Butterfield undertook a critical review of 3 American nursing documents in relation to the concept of social justice. Their article inspired a review of the Canadian Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses, using a Social Justice Gauge developed by the Canadian Nurses Association. The article outlines the development of the gauge and its use in this review. Although some evidence of generic and outdated language is evident in the Canadian code, the text appears well aligned with social justice ideals overall. That being said however, there still remains significant possibility for enlarging the application of social justice, especially in relation to the place of nurses in healthcare institutions and in nontraditional nursing settings, in future revisions of the code. Work to further examine, adapt, and test the Canadian Nurses Association's Social Justice Gauge is encouraged.