• ethical code;
  • privacy;
  • work satisfaction

Work satisfaction is known to be one of the major factors related to nurses’ quality of care. Being able to apply the professional principles of training influences work satisfaction. The nursing ethical code is a good manifestation of these professional principles. The everyday strains on nurses’ work might compromise the amount of energy invested in following the ethical code. The gap between the ethical requirements (as perceived by the nurse) and the perceived extent to which they are applied will influence work satisfaction through the mediating effect of role conflict. Demographic variables including age, tenure and number of children might also exert an effect. Structured questionnaires were used to measure the perceptions of nurses regarding their ability to follow the ethical code in a large hospital in Israel. Practical considerations meant that the questionnaire focused on client privacy issues in the ethical code. Results support the mediating hypothesis as the ‘ethical gap’ did not correlate directly with work satisfaction. This paper highlights that professionalization, manifested by the ethical code, should be applied on an everyday basis in the workplace.