A new code has been developed for the UK's 674,000 nurses and midwives to mark World Health Day.
The Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) is holding events in Edinburgh, Belfast, Glamorgan and London to launch the new Code.
It aims to clarify what patients can expect of nursing staff and to set out what is expected of them as professionals.
The NMC met stakeholders from all over the UK as part of a review to help develop the code in 2007.
These included nurses, midwives, employers, members of the public, patient groups, unions and professional bodies.
Nancy Kirkland, NMC President, said: "Practise is continually changing, and nurses and midwives are increasingly faced with situations that challenge their accountability.
"They should see the code as a support tool to help them in practise so if they are faced with an ethical, moral or professional dilemma, they can refer to it for guidance and advice."
Dee Stanley-Smith, from Derby City PCT, who was involved in the process said: "The Code puts into words what it means to be a nurse, spelling out my responsibility to the patient, the service and the profession.
"It reminds me that I am proud to be a nurse successfully working in an ever-changing world."
"It may be helpful, but I expect not. If it is not full of uniform issues such as "in my day they used to wear hats" and matron issues such as "in my day nurses did what they were told and used to scrub the bedpans" etc, etc. I have little to enthuse me with regard to this, we could bend over backwards and serve with golden elephants and we will still be abused and treated as handmaidens to doctors, paid a miserable amount for it, and spend a lot of our spare time answering vexatious complaints from people who did not like a doctor's diagnosis." - Name and address supplied