Basic Tenets of Nursing Ethics

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Basic Tenets of Nursing Ethics

The American Nurses Association created a Code of Ethics that can be summed up in a few points:

  • Compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth, and uniqueness of every patient.
  • Primary commitment is to the patient.
  • Advocacy to protect the health, safety, and rights of the patient.
  • Responsibility and accountability for individual nursing practice to provide optimum patient care.
  • Maintenance of personal integrity, safety, competence, and professional growth.
  • Establishment, maintenance, and improvement of healthcare environments and conditions of employment in order to provide quality care.
  • Advancement of the profession through various contributions.
  • Collaboration with other healthcare professionals.
  • Responsibility for articulating nursing values and maintaining the integrity of the profession and its practice

What Does This Mean?

Looking at the Code of Ethics provides a glimpse at the complexities involved in the nursing profession. More than just “First, do no harm,” nurses are responsible for a lot more than just a patient’s care. Nurses need to ensure that medical interventions offered for the treatment of a disease or other condition are compatible with the patient’s needs and wishes. Nurses also need to take care of themselves physically, mentally, and professionally; a nurse can’t provide quality care if he or she becomes grievously ill after failing to prevent exposure to a patient’s communicable disease or a needle stick. It is also built into the ethical code that nurses should try to affect social and public policy in an effort to maintain and further the profession.

As a nurse, what is your personal code of ethics? Do you feel that your colleagues and your healthcare facility are living up to the ethical standards set forth for nurses?

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Tera Rowland
Contributor Tera Rowland

Tera Rowland is the vice president of Soliant and has worked in the healthcare staffing industry for almost 20 years in public relations, social media, marketing and operations. In addition to Soliant, Tera worked at the Mayo Clinic as an internal communication manager and for the Children’s Miracle Network. She is a member of the American Marketing Association and the American Staffing Association. Also, Tera has served on the board of directors for the Jacksonville Women’s Leadership Forum as part of the communication committee. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations as well as a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from the University of North Florida and has been published in the Huffington Post, Healthcare Finance News, Healthcare Traveler Magazine, and Scrubs Magazine. Make sure to read the rest of Tera's blogs!