Nursing and ethical issues
Ethics are moral standards that dictate what is wrong or right in a profession. Nurses have a code of ethics and principles that define acceptable actions and behaviors. In the United States of America, the code of ethics was formulated by the American Nursing Association. Nine provisions of the code of ethics outline acceptable nursing practices.
The first one states that nurses should respect the patient’s dignity and worth. They should also respect the patient’s family. Nurses should view communication as a tool, and utilize it to foster a good nurse-patient relationship. Secondly, nurses should attend to the patients’ needs first as they are their primary concern. Whether it is a group, individual or population nurses should give them full attention.
Thirdly, the nurses are obliged to promote the health and safety of the patients. The nurses’ sole motive should be offering the best health care to patients for them to recover and get back to their normal lives. Also, nurses should be accountable, they have a responsibility to provide quality health care. They should be competent with a high level of integrity. Nurses should work on personal and professional growth. With the advancement of technology and evolving nursing practices, nurses should improve their skills for them to catch up with these emerging roles.
Besides competence, nurses should provide a healthy working environment, and embrace research and scholarly inquiry to improve their profession through knowledge. They should also participate in developing and implementing health policies. Nurses are obliged to promote human rights and health diplomacy. Finally, they should form professional organizations and join health committees.
Apart from the nine mentioned code of ethics, there are also four principles of ethics, these include; justice, autonomy, beneficence, and non-maleficence. Justice highlights that nurses should treat patients fairly. Autonomy indicates that the patient has a right to make their own decisions even though they are not congruent with the nurse’s wishes. Beneficence indicates that the nurses’ motives, plans, and actions should focus on promoting the health of a patient. Non-maleficence means that nurses should not make any decisions or take actions that will harm the patient.
Not only do the principles and the code of ethics govern the actions of nurses but they also act as a guideline whenever ethical dilemmas crop up. Ethical dilemmas are situations when the nurse’s prescriptions conflict with the patient or family’s wishes. Nursing students should be introduced to these ethical standards at an early stage of their career life for them to familiarize themselves with them.
Bandman, E. L., & Bandman, B. (2002). Nursing ethics through the life span.
Ulrich, C. M., Taylor, C., Soeken, K., O’Donnell, P., Farrar, A., Danis, M., & Grady, C. (2010). Everyday ethics: ethical issues and stress in nursing practice. Journal of advanced nursing, 66(11), 2510-2519.
Davis, A. J. (1999). The Global influence of American nursing: some ethical issues. Nursing Ethics, 6(2), 118-125.

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