Home > Blog > Nursing Code of Ethics: The Ultimate Guide to Ethical Challenges
nursing code of ethics
April 18, 2024
10 min read
65 views

Nursing Code of Ethics: The Ultimate Guide to Ethical Challenges

All healthcare professionals must adhere to ethical standards. However, for nurses, keeping ethical principles is of paramount importance. According to statistics, nurses in a hospital spend about 60% of their time communicating with patients. This percentage is even higher in intensive care units in hospices and nursing homes. So, adhering to ethical standards is critical to doing a quality job. Equally important is knowing how to deal with ethical dilemmas and solve related problems.

The American Nurses Association (ANA) has developed a nursing code of ethics. This is not just a set of rules but a support system that makes nurses’ jobs easier and their decisions more informed. It lays down the basic moral principles of healthcare.

A Brief History of the Nursing Code of Ethics

🔥 24/7 support
What do you need help with?
Essay
  • Admission/Application Essay
  • Admission Editing
  • Admission Proofreading
  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Argumentative essay
  • Article
  • Article paraphrasing
  • Article review
  • Assessment
  • Assignment
  • Book Report/Review
  • Business plan
  • Capstone Project
  • Case Study
  • Concept map
  • Concept paper
  • Conference Paper
  • Coursework
  • Critical review
  • Critique
  • Custom List of Topics
  • CV
  • Data analysis
  • Defence Presentation
  • Discussion Post
  • Dissertation
  • Dissertation Chapter - Abstract
  • Dissertation Chapter - Discussion
  • Dissertation Chapter - Introduction Chapter
  • Dissertation Chapter - Literature Review
  • Dissertation Chapter - Methodology
  • Dissertation Chapter - Results
  • Dissertation revision
  • Editing
  • Essay
  • Evidence-based practice paper
  • Exam Answers
  • Formatting
  • Grant proposal
  • Interview essay
  • Lab Report
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Literature review
  • Literature review outline
  • Marketing plan
  • Math Problem
  • Multiple Choice Questions
  • Non-word assignment
  • Nursing care plan
  • Nursing teaching plan
  • Other
  • Outline
  • Paraphrasing
  • Personal Statement
  • PICO/PICOT Questions
  • PowerPoint Presentation Plain
  • PowerPoint Presentation with Speaker Notes
  • Problem solution
  • Proofreading
  • Quality improvement project
  • Reaction paper
  • Reflection paper
  • Reflective Journal
  • Report
  • Research Paper
  • Research Proposal
  • Retyping (PDF / PNG / Handwriting to Word)
  • Revision
  • Scholarship Essay
  • Scoping review
  • Shadow health assessment
  • Soap notes
  • Speech
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Statistics Project
  • Summary
  • Swot-analysis
  • Systematic review
  • Term Paper
  • Thesis
  • Thesis chapter - Background
  • Thesis chapter - Conclusion & future works
  • Thesis chapter - Implementation
  • Thesis chapter - Introduction
  • Thesis chapter - Other (not listed above)
  • Thesis chapter - Results & evaluation
  • Thesis chapter - Theory & problem statement
  • Thesis literature review
  • Thesis Proposal
  • Thesis revision
  • Topic Suggestion
  • Topic Suggestion + Summary + References
See the price
Free & instant price quote

Florence Nightingale, one of the most famous nurses in history, laid down the fundamental principles of the nursing code of ethics in the 19th century. She also established the groundwork for contemporary healthcare practices. Later, in the 50s of the 20th century, the American Nurses Association (ANA) unified these principles.

The Code of Ethics has undergone many revisions and additions. The last major revision passed in 2015, and a new one is scheduled for 2025. Changes are planned to adapt the regulation to modern challenges. However, the basics of the code of ethics, which include autonomy, beneficence, justice, and nonmaleficence, will remain unchanged.

Code of Ethics in Nursing as Basics of Professional Behavior

For more than 20 years, nursing has been the most moral profession in the United States, according to surveys. The code of ethics for nursing is one of the reasons for this high rating. This is the foundation of professional behavior, a set of principles and standards that define ethical obligations to clients, their families, colleagues, and society. The code should not be confused with job descriptions. The latter represents more technical and procedural work norms; the code, in turn, determines the general atmosphere of the working processes.

Many of the principles are self-evident norms of working behavior, and their observance simplifies the job and helps the patients feel safe. A person who feels cared for is better able to share their concerns and problems, which can be critical in determining successful treatment. Besides, it leads to better adherence to medical prescriptions after discharge, which has a beneficial effect on the number of remissions and results in the long term.

The Importance of Studying the Code of Ethics for Nurses

Competent and polite communication with clients is no less important than the ability to perform standard care procedures. In such a case, ethical awareness is just as much a part of professionalism. The code of ethics for nurses is an indispensable guide to becoming a good healthcare professional with well-developed communication skills. It is not just a course to take in nursing school but one of the fundamentals of quality care improvement.

The importance of code of ethics in nursing cannot be overemphasized. Knowing and successfully applying this code ensures a personalized approach to every patient and improving their outcomes. In addition, the study of nursing ethical considerations forms a common standard of behavior for all workers, which helps find answers to complex ethical issues. This enhances the standard of medical care and boosts trust in the field.

Main Principles of the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics

The American Nurses Association Code of Ethics defines the 4 main ethical principles when working with patients.

  1. Autonomy in Nursing means people have the right to freedom of choice in treatment wherever possible. Nurses should respect patients’ views and support them in making informed decisions about their health.
  2. Beneficence in Nursing implies that nurses should do their best to improve patients’ health, morale, and quality of life, focusing their interests first rather than the specialist’s personal opinion.
  3. The Justice principle suggests that nurses should treat each person equally. They should give each patient the necessary attention and distribute their care fairly without preference or bias.
  4. The Non-maleficence principle of health care means that the nurse must ensure that the patient’s health and morale are not harmed. The cardinal rule of medicine should guide every action: “The main thing is not to harm.”

Adherence to these principles helps maintain the high quality of healthcare delivery and prevent wrong ethical decisions.

Code of Ethics Nursing: 9 Provisions a Nurse Must Adhere To

In addition to adhering to the 4 core principles of the ANA’s Code, it is important to be aware of what are the 9 Code of Ethics for Nurses. There are nine main provisions to follow for successful performance and professional development. Briefly, each of the provisions can be described as follows:

  1. A nurse must respect the dignity of every person and treat the individual with compassion.
  2. The nurse’s primary focus should be on the patient. The patient refers to a single person, family, or social group.
  3. The nurse should advocate and promote the patient’s right to quality health care.
  4. The nurse must provide care according to all regulations and capabilities to provide the best care.
  5. The nurse is accountable to patients and self by being an example of health promotion and professional growth.
  6. Through their efforts, the nurses shall promote an ethical environment and improve working conditions and healthcare.
  7. The nurse in any position shall promote the profession and enhance its public status.
  8. The nurse should cooperate with fellow healthcare and social professionals to enhance service quality and minimize health disparities.
  9. The nurses themselves and collectively, through their organization, should shape and develop nursing values and integrate them into the overall healthcare system.

Provision 9 of the regulation is worth mentioning separately, as it has a broad interpretation.
In general, this provision of the Code of Ethics Nursing means that workers should organize groups and meet in committees. These meetings unite nurses to fight more effectively for social justice and improve national health policy in the country.

How Can Code of Ethics for Nursing Help Shape Good Nurses

Knowledge of theory, the ability to perform procedures, and the capability to meet people’s needs in care are the primary skills needed to becoming a nurse. Internships and lectures help hone specialized skills. Regarding patient communication and related soft skills, a significant part of being a nurse is having an excellent knowledge of the code of ethics in nursing and the ability to apply its principles to practice.

Knowing nursing ethics helps maintain high standards of the profession and moral principles in work. This increases trust and respect for the profession.
A set of ethical rules is a reliable guide to navigating specialists in complex ethical dilemmas. These rules help resolve problems based on justice, fairness, and respect for human dignity.
The study of ethical principles helps healthcare workers develop themselves. Through self-reflection and understanding of patients’ needs, the overall level of care delivery increases.

In Conclusion

The Nursing Code of Ethics, in its current form, has helped nurses worldwide maintain high ethical standards in patient care for over 70 years. This regulation has made the nursing profession one of the most respected in society. Learning the code of ethics is a crucial part of becoming every nurse. It is essential to realize this and not treat this manual as just another nursing training course. Knowing and following these rules will help you become better for yourself, your patients, and your community.

Olivia Reynolds
Blog Expert
Yale University
300+ written articles
I've helped with almost all kinds of papers for the last 8 years, and blog expands my expertise additionally. I'm eager for the opportunity to be even more helpful to you.
About blog expert
🔥 24/7 support
What do you need help with?
Essay
  • Admission/Application Essay
  • Admission Editing
  • Admission Proofreading
  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Argumentative essay
  • Article
  • Article paraphrasing
  • Article review
  • Assessment
  • Assignment
  • Book Report/Review
  • Business plan
  • Capstone Project
  • Case Study
  • Concept map
  • Concept paper
  • Conference Paper
  • Coursework
  • Critical review
  • Critique
  • Custom List of Topics
  • CV
  • Data analysis
  • Defence Presentation
  • Discussion Post
  • Dissertation
  • Dissertation Chapter - Abstract
  • Dissertation Chapter - Discussion
  • Dissertation Chapter - Introduction Chapter
  • Dissertation Chapter - Literature Review
  • Dissertation Chapter - Methodology
  • Dissertation Chapter - Results
  • Dissertation revision
  • Editing
  • Essay
  • Evidence-based practice paper
  • Exam Answers
  • Formatting
  • Grant proposal
  • Interview essay
  • Lab Report
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Literature review
  • Literature review outline
  • Marketing plan
  • Math Problem
  • Multiple Choice Questions
  • Non-word assignment
  • Nursing care plan
  • Nursing teaching plan
  • Other
  • Outline
  • Paraphrasing
  • Personal Statement
  • PICO/PICOT Questions
  • PowerPoint Presentation Plain
  • PowerPoint Presentation with Speaker Notes
  • Problem solution
  • Proofreading
  • Quality improvement project
  • Reaction paper
  • Reflection paper
  • Reflective Journal
  • Report
  • Research Paper
  • Research Proposal
  • Retyping (PDF / PNG / Handwriting to Word)
  • Revision
  • Scholarship Essay
  • Scoping review
  • Shadow health assessment
  • Soap notes
  • Speech
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Statistics Project
  • Summary
  • Swot-analysis
  • Systematic review
  • Term Paper
  • Thesis
  • Thesis chapter - Background
  • Thesis chapter - Conclusion & future works
  • Thesis chapter - Implementation
  • Thesis chapter - Introduction
  • Thesis chapter - Other (not listed above)
  • Thesis chapter - Results & evaluation
  • Thesis chapter - Theory & problem statement
  • Thesis literature review
  • Thesis Proposal
  • Thesis revision
  • Topic Suggestion
  • Topic Suggestion + Summary + References
See the price
Free & instant price quote