The proto-code of ethics and conduct for European nurse directors was developed as a strategic and dynamic document for nurse managers in Europe. It invites critical dialogue, reflective thinking about different situations, and the development of specific codes of ethics and conduct by nursing associations in different countries. The term proto-code is used for this document so that specifically country-orientated or organization-based and practical codes can be developed from it to guide professionals in more particular or situation-explicit reflection and values. The proto-code of ethics and conduct for European nurse directors was designed and developed by the European Nurse Directors Association's (ENDA) advisory team. This article gives short explanations of the code' s preamble and two main parts: Nurse directors' ethical basis, and Principles of professional practice, which is divided into six specific points: competence, care, safety, staff, life-long learning and multi-sectorial working.