Butts and Rich (1-26) point out that effective nursing requires both broad knowledge and a set of well developed abilities and skills. The required tasks, are many and varied and in order to do them properly, care must be taken to respect each patient's rights and sensitivities. This is why, according to the authors, nursing care must be guided by a code of ethics. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview and discussion of the "Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements" developed by the American Association of Nurses (ANA 1-2).
Content and Clarity of the Code
The ANA's Code of Ethics (1-2) consists of several ethical statements called provisions. There are a total of nine provisions. The first three of these provisions describe ethical values and nurse commitments while the second three provisions address the parameters of nursing obligations and duties as well as loyalties. The final three provisions examine nurses' duties and obligations beyond the general practices associated with caring for individual patients.
The clarity of the code was of strong concern in its development (ANA 1). However, clarity was added by the addition of statements that interpret each provision. What adds additional clarity to the Code is the fact that interpretive statements have been repeatedly revised over the years in an effort to make them more specific in terms of nursing practice as well as more responsive to the contemporary context of nursing (Kansas State Nursing Association 1-2).
Purpose of the Code
The purposes of the American Nurses' Association's Code of Ethics has been discussed by the Kansas State Nursing Association (2003:1) which states that the Code is meant to state both the ethical obligations and duties of nursing professionals. In this way, the Code of Ethics seeks to provide a non-negotiable ethical standard.
Principles of the Code
In discussing the development of...