Code of Ethics

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Code of Ethics
A code of ethics is a set of standards for professional behavior. Ethical codes are guidelines that are designed to set out acceptable behaviors for members of a particular group, association, or profession (Code of Ethics, n.d.). Many organizations govern themselves with a code of ethics, especially when they handle sensitive issues such as healthcare. Ultimately, a code of ethics serves as the written word declaring how professionals think of themselves, individually and collectively, and the serious responsibilities they have embraced (Code of Ethics, n.d.). The goals, basic ethical principles, grievance procedures, and feasibility of the Nursing Code of Ethics will be further discussed throughout this paper. The Nursing Code of Ethics is one such structure that displays nursing’s scope and responsibilities as a profession (Hook, 2001). The main goal of the code is to outline the distinct duties and rights for nurses. The code discusses the role of nurses as they relate to people, their practice, society, their coworkers, and their profession (Fremgen, 2009). It additionally outlines the nurses’ obligation to protect patients’ privacy, respect patients’ dignity, maintain competence in nursing, and assume responsibility and accountability for individual nursing judgments (American Nurses Association, 2001). The Code of Ethics is continuously evolving and reflects nurses’ expanded professional roles including administrators, care coordinators, educators, and researchers in addition to direct patient care providers (Hook, 2001). As a result of the expanded responsibilities of nurses, the relationship between nurses and patients has been challenged more than ever. Nurses are being faced with ethical issues and stresses more frequently. The Nursing Code of Ethics is in place to help nurses handle these challenges and remain attentive to provide patient and family centered care (Scanlon, 2000). 
 Ethics is an integral part of the foundation of nursing. Because of this, a Code of Ethics for nurses is essential. The goal of nursing ethics centers on patient care. The Nursing Code of Ethics articulates nursing’s commitment to provide high quality care to patients and communities, supporting each other in the process, so that all nurses can fulfill their ethical and professional obligations, as well as meet their own professional career goals (Hook, 2001). The Nursing Code of Ethics exists to identify the explicit goals, values, and obligations of the profession. Many decisions nurses make have an ethical component, which many times bring about conflicts among ethical responsibilities. The code is in place to help guide nurses through these conflicts.  
 The Nursing Code of Ethics addresses the more “traditional’ principles of health care including respect for autonomy, the ethical right of the patient to make their own decisions (if competent), beneficence, the duty to help patients, nonmaleficence, the principle that states “do no harm”, and justice, the principle of treating all people fairly without regard to socioeconomic status, personal attributes, or the nature of patients’ health problems (Scanlon, 2000). In addition to these basic principles, which lay the foundation for nurses, the responsibilities derived from them are also included. Current provisions of the Nursing Code of Ethics reflect modernized principles addressing patient dignity, commitment to the patient, patient rights, optimum patient care, integrity, continued personal and professional growth, advancement of the profession, collaboration with other professionals, and improved health care environments and conditions of employment (Hook, 2001). Confidentiality is a vital principle reflected in the Nursing Code of Ethics. This means nurses should not divulge any information about their patients to anybody unless they are permitted to do so by the patient (Nursing Avenue, 2010). The decision to divert...
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