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 administration. Even though nurses’ workloads are constantly changing, they are still governed by a set of ideals and moral norms which nurses are expected to adhere to and embrace. In a nursing profession, daily decisions have real impact on other people’s lives. The responsibility of such decisions creates the need for nurses to have knowledge and skills that enable them to not only provide physical and psychological care, but also to critique and reflect on the standard of health care practices. For the nurses to do this, they must understand ethics and ways in which to utilize this knowledge in a constructive and systematic way. In doing so, they are able to deliver the care required by the profession and also expected by the society. The importance of the code of ethics for registered nurses guarantees that nurses are accountable for their actions, ethical problem are dealt with in a most appropriate way, nurses are guided about their roles and responsibilities and to ensure that highest standard of care are provided.
Ethics is derived from the Greek word “ethos” that means customs, character or conduct. Ethics is a branch of philosophy that examines the difference of certain actions of being right and wrong and what is good and bad. Professions such as in business, medicine and nursing...
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