Research Paper on Nursing Ethics
Ethics is part of the framework in the practice of every profession. The term ‘ethics’ has several meanings associated to it. It may refer to a method of inquiry that helps people understand the morality of human behavior, beliefs and practices of a group or the expected standard of moral behavior of a specific group as described by their code of professional ethics (Berman 83). With nursing being a reputable profession, it is but expected that it has its own set of ethical standards thus called as nursing ethics.
Nursing ethics refers to ethical issues that occur in nursing practice (Berman 83). When nursing was founded, it has always been about caring for people and dealing with lives. In the process of doing such delicate tasks, nurses have encountered ethical issue and dilemmas. Before, ethical decision making fell on the shoulders of the physician. The physician was responsible for the outcome of the decision made and nurses just had to stand by the decision of the physician. However, with the age of modernization and technology, health situations have grown more complex. With the invention of mechanical ventilators, lives of the terminally ill could be prolonged and with it entered the issue of euthanasia or mercy killing. Others issues like abortion, substance abuse also surfaced. Realizing that no one profession or discipline has all the knowledge and expertise when it comes to ethics, institutions started collecting input from all members of the health sector when it comes to dealing with ethical decisions. Nurses, being the majority group of heath care providers, recognized the need to have their own code of ethics to follow to guide them in their day to day practice of their life saving craft.
The nursing code of ethics is a formal statement of nurses’ ideals and values. It was initially developed by the American Nurses Association (ANA) to serve as a guide for carrying out nursing responsibilities in a manner consistent with quality in nursing care and the ethical obligations of the profession (Code of ethics for nurses). It may vary in form from one country to the next but they share the same cause, they all have the same foundations and usually have higher requirements than the legal standards of a country. It is the responsibility of each nurse to be familiar with the code that governs the nursing profession.
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