Ethical and Legal Issues in Nursing
Nursing as a profession, holds itself to a standard of practice and a code of ethics that governs this discipline. It was well put by Nicholson (2012), “Nonprofessionals cannot be held to the standards of the medical professions, but persons who have been specially trained, educated and licensed are accountable for performance that deviates from the customs of their field.” To function effectively, nurses need to be aware of their contents and incorporate them as a guide for their professional decisions. “A wise nurse who is aware of deep personal values and moral standards will make decisions regarding practice setting so that the nurse’s own personal integrity remains intact, while putting patients and their needs first” (Chitty & Black, 2010, p. 101). A person’s value system is initiated by the beliefs held by his or her family, and as growing occurs the person is exposed to other cultures, belief systems, peers, and societal norms, that may be incorporated into his or her value system. A nurse is expected to make ethical decisions. Having the ability to make ethical and responsible reasoning, involves rational thinking. It is also systematic and based on ethical principles and civil law. Ethical decision making can’t be based on emotions, intuition, fixed policy, or an earlier occurrence. (Blias & Harris, 2011, p. 61). A nurse is not exempt from developing values, and belief systems that shape how they may view their patient population. Individuals must be wise when offering advice or providing assistance to a family or patient involved in a difficult decision making process. The nurse’s personal values, societal views, and personal experiences can negatively influence a patient or family decision if his or her views regarding the decision are conflicting in nature. A nurse must stay focused on the best outcome for the patient and family regardless of how he or she may feel personally. The following two...
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