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Nursing Ethics

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Nursing Code of Ethics

Lisa Lang

West Texas A&M University

NURS 4345 Professional Nursing Leadership/Management

Nursing Code of Ethics

The focus of this paper is to discuss the Nursing Code of Ethics. The purpose of this paper is to review the purpose, background, and the importance of the Nursing Code of Ethics and evaluate how the Nursing Code of Ethics improves individual nursing practice. Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary defines the Nursing Code of Ethics as, “A statement by the American Nurses Association to guide nurses in their legal and ethical practice” (Venes, 2009, p. 479). A code of ethics is a summary of a profession’s values and standards of conduct (Venes, 2009).

Introduction

Ethics is not a black-and-white subject, which you either know or don’t know. Ethics always involves thinking and feeling, study and practice, knowledge and intuition. As such, ethics involves the whole person of you the nurse, and the whole person of the patient or client. This is a tall order; it is also a personal challenge (College and Association of Registered Nurses in Alberta, 2005). As nurses we are faced with ethical decisions on a daily basis, having a Code of Ethics as a guide helps in making the right decision at the right time for the right reason.

The Nursing Code of Ethics

Purpose

The American Nurses Association (ANA) Code of Ethics for Nurses serves the following purposes: it is a succinct statement of the ethical obligations and duties of every individual who enters the nursing profession, it is the profession’s nonnegotiable ethical standard and It is an expression of nursing’s own understanding of its commitment to society (ANA, 2001). The Nursing Code of Ethics also helps nurses keep perspective and have a balanced view regarding decisions.

Background

When the ANA House of Delegates first unanimously accepted the Code for Professional Nurses in 1950, years of consideration had been given to the...