Running head: PROFESSIONAL ETHICS Professional Ethics Donna Noha University of Phoenix Professional Ethics We as nurses are accountable for our ethical conduct. So what are ethics? How are ethics different from our morals? In this paper, I will define what ethics are, describe the significance of professional ethics to nursing practice, summarize the purpose and the contexts of the American Nurses Association (ANA) Code of Ethics, and finally discuss two the provisions of the ANA Code of Ethics. So are morals different from ethics? Morals and ethics are similar.
Morals are an individual’s belief or personal standard of what is right and wrong, whether it is someone’s conduct, attitude, or character. Ethics can be referred to as beliefs, standards, or morals of a specific group, such as nurses (Blais, Hayes, Kozier, & Erb, 2006). Nursing practice has its own professional ethics. The nursing codes of ethics are formal statements of standards for professional conduct and inform the public of its commitment. What do nurses do with this Code of Ethics? Nurses have more of a moral responsibility due to having knowledge in a specialized area to help other people.
Duties of a nurse are to protect and maximize the patient’s well-being, even if we are not working. For example, if there is car accident that a nurse witnesses and there are injured people, that nurse has the responsibility to take act within her nursing skills to help the injured. The significance of ethics in nursing practice is very important. Nurses have to think of the client’s health, well being, and their morals instead of only of their own. The ANA created the Scope and Standard of Practice, which include the Nurse Code of ethics. But what does that Code of Ethics entail?
The ANA Code of Ethics was designed so that every nurse must act and think certain ways ensuring that the patient’s rights are protected as well as the nurse’s rights are protected. The Code of Ethics provides rules and standard for nurses to maintain and elicit ethical behavior that is expected when practicing nursing in any health care settings. The Code also gives guidance for decision making that concerns ethical issues. ( Hooks & White, 2003) The Code of Ethics consists of nine provisions. The first three provisions deal with fundamental values and responsibilities that the nurse assumes.
The next three involve the nurse’s duties to oneself, accountability, and improvement. The last three discuss the nurse’s responsibility of professional advancement, collaboration, and the overall concern of human rights (Hooks & White, 2003). Provision two and three of the Code of Ethics for Nurses states “the nurse’s primary commitment is the patient” and “the nurse promotes, advocates for, and strives to protect the health, safety, and rights of the patient. (Blais, Hayes, Kozier, & Erb, 2006)” These two provisions fit well together. The main concern is of the patient’s well being and best interest.
This means that the patient is number one priority for the nurse. The nurse will be that patient’s advocate and speak on his/her behalf and informs the patient of treatment. For example, when performing minor procedures in my clinic, it is my responsibility to ensure that the patient signs the consent form stating that he/she knows why the procedure is being done, risks and benefits of both the procedure being done or not, and that they have a right to refuse treatment. A lot of the times, the provider doesn’t explain everything, so it is my ethical responsibility to ask questions for the patient so they understand everything.
These provisions have ethical principles of nursing practice that apply to each of the nine provisions. Key ethical principles used in provision two and three include autonomy because the nurse respects the patient’s decisions. Nonmaleficence and beneficence is also key principles in these provisions. These two are basic principles of nursing practice. The nurse will have the patient’s best interest in mind and will do no harm to the patient. In conclusion, I have discussed what professional ethics are and how they are based on morals and the significance in nursing practice.
I also discussed that the purpose of the ANA Code of Ethics is to serve as a standard of practice and that in contains nine provisions. Of those nine, I discussed provision two and three with key principles for those. References Blais, K. , Hayes, J. , Kozier, B. , & Erb, G. (2006). Professional nursing practice: Concepts and perspectives. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc. Hooks, K. G. & White, G. B. (2003). ANA’s code of ethics for nurses with interpretive statements independent study module. American Nurses Association. Retrieved June 1, 2009, from http://www. nursingworld. org/mods/mod580/cecdetoc. htm
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