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American Nursing Code of Ethics

Introduction

Healthcare becomes more and more complex every day. Changes occur so rapidly that it is near to impossible to be on top of all of the changes all of the time. There have been issues with nursing ethics from the very beginning but there have been increases in those problems since the 1930’s for both physicians and nurses. The Code of Ethics is meant to help the nurse who is facing these challenges in her career by providing a guidance around decision making. That guidance is the ANA Code of Ethics and Interpretive Statements (Code of ethics with interpretive statements). This paper will discuss how that code of ethics relates to the practice in our facility.

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The Code and Our Facility

The biggest problem that has been noted by nursing in our facility, and in others, is the fact that patient’s have a choice. Research shows that many patients who have surgery, for example, would not have had surgery had they thoroughly understood the ramification of that surgery (Moulton & King, 2010). It frequently seems to be a regular argument between physicians and nurses as to whether the patient understands and whether this is really what they want. The code, in this case, states that the nurses primary commitment is to the patient (Code of ethics). This is sometimes difficult because often the physician does want it his way.

Physicians are most concerned with beneficence which is do not harm but they see it differently than nurses do and that argument often ensues. The physician feels that if the patient does not have a particular treatment, he has not done his best. The nurse feels through her ethical training that it is doing harm if it is not what the patient wants.

A second issue that arises often in our institution is that nursing really does not have a voice. There is a Chief Nursing Officer but she is so far removed from the staff that she could not possibly know what the staff are thinking. The code of ethics says “the nurse participates in the advancement of the profession through contributions to practice, education, administration, and knowledge development.” (Code of ethics) as well as “the nurse participates in establishing, maintaining, and improving health care environments and conditions of employment conducive to the provision of quality health care and consistent with the values”.(Code of ethics). How does a nurse do this in today’s medicine. There only a few institutions that have begun to understand that it is not only a nurses duty to participate in other than patient care but also it belongs to her ethical need as a nurse. This one issue may be one of the very reasons why nurses get out of nursing. The ethical conflict is just too great. The code is meant to guide us and yet when a decision is made within the realms of the code, it becomes difficult for the nurse.

Conclusion

Nursing is taught and holds on dearly to its ethical principles. They were meant to guide us through the tough times when decisions have to be made. After all it must be realized that decisions are not made for healthcare workers feelings but for the good of and by the choice of the patient. In today’s fast moving healthcare world with all of the grand abilities we have to save lives, it is sometimes easy to forget there is a patient in there. This is when the ANA Code of Ethics with Interpretive Statements should be close.

References Healthcare becomes more and more complex every day. Changes occur so rapidly that it is near to impossible to be on top of all of the changes all of the time. There have been issues with nursing ethics from the very beginning but there have been increases in those problems since the 1930’s for both physicians and nurses. The Code of Ethics is meant to help the nurse who is facing these challenges in her career by providing a guidance around decision making. That guidance is the ANA Code of Ethics and Interpretive Statements (Code of ethics with interpretive statements). This paper will discuss how that code of ethics relates to the practice in our facility.

The Code and Our Facility

The biggest problem that has been noted by nursing in our facility, and in others, is the fact that patient’s have a choice. Research shows that many patients who have surgery, for example, would not have had surgery had they thoroughly understood the ramification of that surgery (Moulton & King, 2010). It frequently seems to be a regular argument between physicians and nurses as to whether the patient understands and whether this is really what they want. The code, in this case, states that the nurses primary commitment is to the patient (Code of ethics). This is sometimes difficult because often the physician does want it his way.

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Physicians are most concerned with beneficence which is do not harm but they see it differently than nurses do and that argument often ensues. The physician feels that if the patient does not have a particular treatment, he has not done his best. The nurse feels through her ethical training that it is doing harm if it is not what the patient wants.

A second issue that arises often in our institution is that nursing really does not have a voice. There is a Chief Nursing Officer but she is so far removed from the staff that she could not possibly know what the staff are thinking. The code of ethics says “the nurse participates in the advancement of the profession through contributions to practice, education, administration, and knowledge development.” (Code of ethics) as well as “the nurse participates in establishing, maintaining, and improving health care environments and conditions of employment conducive to the provision of quality health care and consistent with the values”.(Code of ethics). How does a nurse do this in today’s medicine. There only a few institutions that have begun to understand that it is not only a nurses duty to participate in other than patient care but also it belongs to her ethical need as a nurse. This one issue may be one of the very reasons why nurses get out of nursing. The ethical conflict is just too great. The code is meant to guide us and yet when a decision is made within the realms of the code, it becomes difficult for the nurse.

Conclusion

Nursing is taught and holds on dearly to its ethical principles. They were meant to guide us through the tough times when decisions have to be made. After all it must be realized that decisions are not made for healthcare workers feelings but for the good of and by the choice of the patient. In today’s fast moving healthcare world with all of the grand abilities we have to save lives, it is sometimes easy to forget there is a patient in there. This is when the ANA Code of Ethics with Interpretive Statements should be close.

References

American Nurses Association (2010) Code of Ethics with Interpretive Statements. Web.

Code of Ethics.(2010) Web.

Moulton B, & King J. (2010). Aligning ethics with medical decision making: the quest for informed patient choice. Effects of Healthcare 42(16) 116-127.

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