Nursing ethics is deeply rooted in the faculty’s need for the highest standards of honesty and integrity. Therefore, the relevance of ethical principles lies in identifying and holding responsible the specific ethical responsibilities that nurses are expected to uphold.
The essence of nursing, which is to offer care and nurturing to the unwell, closely aligns with “ethical ideals.” For instance, “Beneficence,” which aims to improve people’s well-being, and “Paternalism,” which directs service providers to behave in the interests of clients who cannot make rational decisions.
A basic example of beneficence is using an aseptic technique during a surgical operation to reduce the danger of infection for the client. However, as people live longer and become more reliant on technology, nurses are faced with an increasing number of ethical dilemmas. As a result, the terms “Rules of conduct” and “Quality of care” are vital since they let nurses reflect on their actions and make decisions. Likewise, it is possible to understand some of the nursing ethics required with nurse practitioner courses once in practice.
What does Nursing Ethics Mean?
While ethics may appear to be a straightforward concept on the surface, you must consider many complexities. A moral or just person behaves honorably as a result. On the other hand, ethics in nursing are everything but straightforward. It is clear from the 48-page “Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements” how difficult appropriate ethics is in nursing and how critical ethical theories are.
Health care workers like nurses spend more time with patients than any other type of health care provider. No surprise, ethical issues have crept into the realm of daily practice for nurses. End-of-life care raises a lot of ethical questions in the nursing profession. The distribution of limited resources such as organ donors, prenatal diagnostics, and drug administration are instances of this.
The growing number of elderly patients increases the number of ethical issues in clinical practice. Orthopaedic Nursing illustrates this point with the case of a patient who had several underlying health issues before treatment. The patient has declined a test that the surgeon prescribed. Are directives carried out without the patient’s permission by the nurse? Making this decision is not an easy one.
Nursing’s Ethical challenges
Nurses frequently have to deal with moral problems. Often, nurses must fulfill two sets of ethical responsibilities: one to the patients and the rest of society. In these instances, nurses must respond appropriately since their actions will influence their personal and professional lives.
A nurse may be required by law not to testify toward something unlawful or immoral if confronted with such a circumstance. They must act to protect those who need medical attention due to what transpired at the hospital. Also, if the nurse was involved in the incident, they might be held liable.
A few examples include things like assisting suicide or faking death certificates without the agreement of heirs when no one’s been located yet, like these. There is also a conflict of interest when a nurse must testify against a patient under their care or reject treatment that the hospital is legally required to provide.
The law and ethical standards compel nursing professionals to keep patient information private unless they receive permission from at least one approved provider. Included here might be anything from a diagnosis and prognosis to past therapies and other medical histories.
In addition, they are required to uphold this secrecy even after the subject has left their care, as knowing certain information without understanding what transpired firsthand might still be harmful.
Compared to other healthcare providers, nurses spend the most time with their patients. They have a better grasp of what patients and their loved ones desire than other caregivers do. Patients’ ethical care is heavily reliant on the knowledge and abilities of the nurses who provide it—being rated as the most honest and ethical profession is a testament to a nurse’s abilities.
It is not always easy to tell what is right or wrong. Patients and their families confront ethical issues every day, and principles like the Code and ongoing education like an RN to BSN program help nurses deal with those challenges.