American Nurses Code of Ethics


AmericanNurses Code of Ethics

AmericanNurses Code of Ethics

Theimportance of the nursing profession cannot be understated as far asthe progress and development of any society in all aspects isconcerned. This is particularly considering the fundamental nature ofnursing as a component of the healthcare sector, which is deemed tohave a bearing on the health of the economy given that only healthyindividuals are capable of participating in wealth creationactivities. Nursing is primarily concerned with the optimization,protection and promotion of the abilities and health of individual,averting the possibility of injury and illness, the alleviation ofsuffering of patients via treatment and diagnosis of human response,as well as advocacy in taking care of populations, individuals,communities and families. Like every other profession, nursing isguided by particular laws and regulations, as well as standards.However, nurses in America and across the globe are also required toadhere to particular code of ethics in the provision of services topatients.

First,nurses are required to practice with respect and compassion for theinherent distinctiveness, worth and dignity for all peopleirrespective of the economic and social status, nature of healthproblem and personal attributes. In addition, the nurse hasfundamental or main commitment to the patient whether it is acommunity, group, family or even individual. This means that theinterests of the patient must take precedence, with the nurserecognizing the distinctiveness of the patients. Of course, thiswould require collaboration and full participation of the patient inhis or her own care. Thirdly, nurses are required to make effort,advocate for and promote the protection of the rights, health andsafety of the patient. In addition, nurses have the responsibilityand are accountable for patients in the course of practice and comeup with the right delegation of tasks in line with their duty ofoffering maximum patient care. On the same note, they are required totake part in the establishment, enhancement and maintenance of thehealthcare environment, as well as conditions that are conducive foroffering quality healthcare services and in line with theprofessional values via collective and individual action. Similarly,nurses have the same duty to themselves and others (American NursesAssociation, 2001). Nurses are also required to take part in theadvancement of the nursing profession via contributions todevelopment of knowledge, administration, education and practice. Ofcourse, the advancement of the profession may be achieved in variedways including mentorship, acting as role models, as well as theparticipation in civic activities. They, therefore, have aresponsibility to promote an environment that would facilitate theirprofessionalism and ethical integrity, as well as actively contributeto the creation of a body of knowledge that supports and advancesnursing practice (American Nurses Association, 2001). Moreover,nurses are required to collaborate with the public and otherhealthcare professionals in the promotion of efforts made to meet thehealth needs made at the communal, national and international level.The ninth nursing ethic requires that they profess nursing value,articulation of the same and the maintenance of the integrity thatcomes with the profession and its practice, as well as shaping socialpolicy.

Thereare varied ways in which the code of ethics guides patient care andprofessional practice. First, it should be acknowledged thatprofessional growth and the maintenance of competence necessitatespersistent acquisition of skills and knowledge that is relevant toselected specialty (Dossey et al, 2004). Persistent knowledgeacquisition offers nurses with the necessary principles and scope ofpractice in the continuous learning realm.

Similarly,nurses are required to have their primary commitment to the patients.More often than not, nurses find themselves in situations of conflictemanating from competing loyalties in the workplace. This isespecially where the expectations of patients and their families arein conflict with those of the healthcare organization or even theprofession in general. A case in point is a situation where a patientrequires blood transfusion so as to regain his health, yet the samepatient refuses to have the procedure taken since his religion isagainst the same. However, the family could be insisting that theprocedure is undertaken since it is the only way of saving the lifeof the patient. In instances where the wishes of the patient conflictwith those of other people and institutions, nurses must strive tohave the conflict resolved (Dossey et al, 2004). The persistence ofthe conflict necessitates that the nurse remains committed to thepatient in line with the recognition of the primacy of the interestsof the patient and his or her autonomy. In line with the promotionand protection of the rights, safety and health of the patient, it isimperative that the nurse ensures that the privacy andconfidentiality regarding any issue of the patient is maintained(Roland &amp Foxx, 2003). Indeed, the necessity of healthcare wouldnot be a sufficient justification for unwarranted intrusion in thelife of the patient, in which case the nurse is required to ensurethat any information provided by the patient is accessed only byauthorized individuals.


AmericanNurses Association (ANA). (2001). Code of ethics for nurses withinterpretative statements. Silver Spring, MD: Author.

Dossey,B., Selanders, L.C., Beck, D.M., &amp Attewell, A. (2004). FlorenceNightingale today: Healing, leadership, global action. Silver Spring,MD: American Nurses Publishing.

Roland,C.E., &amp Foxx, R.M. (2003). Self-respect: A neglected concept.Philosophical Psychology, 16, 247-287