Summary This study describes nurse educators' knowledge of the ethical principles of professional codes of ethics and educators' assessment of the implementation of principles of fairness and human respect. Data for this study was collected from nurse educators in Finland. The data was analyzed by SPSS (15.0) for Windows. A total of 342 nurse educators participated. The response rate was 46%. Nurse educators knew well the ethical principles of professional codes governing their work. Older and more experienced educators knew the principles better than younger and less experienced. According to the educators the principle of fairness was implemented the best whereas fair treatment of nurse educators and respect for educators' opinions in the society were implemented the weakest. Educators who knew the principles well assessed themselves to act in a fairer way and to respect other persons' opinions in a better way than educators who knew these principles less well. They also felt themselves to be better treated than educators having less knowledge of the principles. These findings can be utilized to develop nurse educators' ethics education. Further research should focus on students', colleagues' and superiors' assessments of nurse educators' ethical knowledge base to gain comparative data on the phenomenon.