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Nurses’ Ethical Obligations During COVID-19

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was first identified in China at the end of December. It has since spread to more than 200 countries, and the number of those infected grows at an alarming rate. Only a small percentage needs emergency care or urgent medical assistance, but they still constitute tens of thousands of people. Thus, several regulatory and ethical issues arise as healthcare professionals try to navigate an extremely stressful work environment. Nurses are often overlooked in such discussions. Certain assumptions prevail, for example, that doctors are the only ones making important decisions. Nurses are in charge of administering medications, managing patients’ care, and being primary communicators between doctors and patients’ families.

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Nurses are responsible for providing both physical and emotional care, but their tasks usually intensify during natural disasters, mass shootings, and epidemics. American Nurses Association (ANA, 2015) acknowledged a set of ethical dilemmas that arise while nurses treat patients. It developed The Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements (The Code) that they can apply in their practice. It serves to aid nursing professionals in providing safe and quality care to patients.

No country was ready for such a pandemic. As a result, nurses face several moral dilemmas: “How to distribute tests?”, “Who needs primary care?”, “Who is a priority, when it comes to respirators?” Vaccine distribution may present itself as another problem for medical professionals to resolve in the future. According to the Code, limitations of individual rights (withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining therapies, restrictive practices) can be justified as a means to protect the public (ANA, 2015, p. 3). Putting individuals with COVID-19 in isolation under medical supervision is a great example. Prioritizing patients with severe conditions (urgent care, testing, and respiratory help are necessary) is the choice that might seem questionable. In reality, it is ethically correct and quite logical.

Another ethical pattern that is often less discussed is nurses’ accountability to themselves. Taking on such a role requires nurses to have obligations to their patients, the public, but primarily themselves. “Nurses are always accountable for their judgements, decisions, and care.” (ANA, 2015, p. 16). Self-reflection, personal accountability, and liability are among the values, virtues, and moral obligations that guide new professionals in the field.

Reference

American Nurses Association. (2015). The Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements. Author.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, December 31). Nurses’ Ethical Obligations During COVID-19. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/nurses-ethical-obligations-during-covid-19/

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StudyCorgi. (2021, December 31). Nurses’ Ethical Obligations During COVID-19. https://studycorgi.com/nurses-ethical-obligations-during-covid-19/

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"Nurses’ Ethical Obligations During COVID-19." StudyCorgi, 31 Dec. 2021, studycorgi.com/nurses-ethical-obligations-during-covid-19/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Nurses’ Ethical Obligations During COVID-19." December 31, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/nurses-ethical-obligations-during-covid-19/.


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StudyCorgi. "Nurses’ Ethical Obligations During COVID-19." December 31, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/nurses-ethical-obligations-during-covid-19/.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Nurses’ Ethical Obligations During COVID-19." December 31, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/nurses-ethical-obligations-during-covid-19/.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Nurses’ Ethical Obligations During COVID-19'. 31 December.

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