One element of the New York Code of Nurses which was new to me when I encountered it was the concept of abandonment and the legal and professional repercussions which are associated with it. According to the NYSED, abandonment is defined as a situation in which “the nurse-patient relationship is terminated without making reasonable arrangements with an appropriate person so that nursing care by others can be continued” (NYSED, 2016). Alongside this basic definition, it is important to understand that abandonment does not simply affect nurses, but also managers and health care facilities in general. Each of these is understood to maintain an important role in the preservation of the nurse-patient relationship, and therefore to be potentially guilty of abandonment through the neglect of this role.

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For me, what is most important about the existence of abandonment within the nursing code is that it foregrounds the importance of the nurse-patient relationship, and does so in a manner that makes it clear that this relationship is one conducted between an individual nurse and an individual patient. The existence of abandonment legislation suggests that the specificity of this relationship is an important part of being able to care for someone, and makes it clear that nurses maintain a moral, as well as a professional, responsibility to their patients. Indeed, the existence of abandonment legislation appears to suggest that this moral responsibility, founded as it is on the singular nature of a nurse-patient relation, is a key aspect of the professional act of giving appropriate care for someone.

As such, not only was leaning about abandonment regulation new information for me, but it was also something that positively foregrounded something I myself feel is deeply important in the practice of nursing: the maintenance of the nurse patient relationship. That this relationship is given such priority is something which, although it may occasionally be challenging, is I find encouraging and important.

  • “Office of the Professions.” NYSED. (n.d.). Retrieved October 13, 2016, from