Code Of Ethics Nursing Essay

1501 words - 7 pages

March 13, 2013
The call bells are ringing, the doctor is asking for laboratory results, and the patient is complaining of chest pain; all these are happening at the same time and handled by a single person—the nurse. In today’s society, nurses’ roles and responsibilities have drastically changed. Nurses are not only limited to a hospital setting where they are assessing patients, handing out medications or assisting doctors. Nurses are also a counselor, an agent of change and a patient’s advocate. Nurses can also be an educator in a classroom setting, during clinical practice of student nurses or through public presentations. In addition, nurses can also take up roles as part of the ...view middle of the document...

Professions such as in business, medicine and nursing implement codes of ethics to base their actions on how they interact with their associates, co-workers and patients. Code is defined as conventionalized set of rules or expectations devised for a specific purpose. Code of ethics is a written set of guidelines issued by an organization to its workers, members and management to help them conduct their actions in accordance with its primary values and ethical standards (Definitions, par 1). In nursing, the Canadian Nurses Association looks after the code of ethics for registered nurses. Experts in the field back up the code of ethics for nurses and they also continually review the code to accommodate the changing roles of nurses.
First, developing and practicing code of ethics for nurses guarantees that nurses are held accountable for their actions and answerable for their practice. This includes that nurses are aware of the professional standards, laws and regulation supporting ethical practice (CNA, 22). A recent Canadian study stated that the second cause of injury is medication administration or fluid related error such as intravenous fluid like normal saline or similar but mixed with medications, and the first one on the list is surgery errors (Statcan, par 5). Medication error is life- threatening but it remains common occurrence in hospitals. It is usually the nurses that administer medication to the patients. Serious offenses and violation of the code of ethics might result in disciplinary actions or professional license might be revoked and will not be allowed to work again as a nurse.
Then, the code of ethics directs how a nurse should behave and act especially when certain ethical problem arises. The code does not provide solution to a specific problem, but it will serve as a guide for moral and ethical conduct. Nurses can encounter many ethical issues in the workplace. For an example, a competent patient decides to stop eating and depriving the body of any form of nutrition. The patient has the right to choose which treatment or procedure s/he wants but the nurse is aware that the patient’s decision will have consequences that will harm the patient. Does the nurse have the “right” to force the patient to consume food for his/her own good? The Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses stated, “Nurses respect the informed decision-making of capable persons, including choice of lifestyles or treatment not conducive to good health” (CNA, 16) The nurse’s role is to help educate the patient about the possible effects of his/her actions. The teaching aspect should be critical to be as objective as possible and not to let personal biases interfere with the teaching.
In addition, implementation of code of ethics for nurses is important in guiding nurses about their roles and responsibilities towards individuals, patients, families, groups, populations, and communities as well as with students, colleagues and other health-care...

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