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What is the Nursing Code of Ethics?

January 17, 2023

According to the American Nurses Association (ANA), the nursing code of ethics is a design for “providing nursing duties in a way of compatible with excellence in nursing care and the moral responsibilities of the profession.” Ethics, in common, are the ethical laws that command how a person will conduct themselves. All healthcare workers should follow ethical conditions.

Principles of the nursing code of ethics

4 main principles are sections of the nursing code of ethics. They are,

  1. Autonomy
  2. Beneficence
  3. Justice
  4. Non-maleficence

Every nurse should follow and need to be aware of their daily nursing practice. While moral principles are sometimes complex and usually prepared from undergraduate nursing.

4 Principles of Ethics for Nurses

1. Autonomy 

Autonomy is understanding each patient’s claim to privilege and decision-making. Nurses must assure that patients get all medical data, knowledge, potential risks, benefits, complications and choices to choose the best option. 

Once the patient has all relevant information, the medical and nursing team can make a plan of care in compliance with the medical wishes of the patient. 

Nurses must support the patient in their medical choices and guarantee that the medical organization is recognizing those choices. Sometimes, nurses will need to proceed to help a patient despite the orders being verbalized because the medical organization might not agree with those wishes.

2. Beneficence

Beneficence is working for the good and benefit of others and including such qualities as kindness and charity. The American Nurses Association defines this as “actions guided by compassion.”

3. Justice

Justice is that there should be an ingredient of integrity in all medical and nursing arrangements and administration. Nurses must mind all patients with the same level of integrity despite the individual's financial powers, race, religion, gender, and/or sexual orientation. 

4. Nonmaleficence 

Nonmaleficence is not harmed. It is the most important principle of nursing ethics. More precisely, it is choosing intrusions and attention that will cause the least quantity of harm to achieve a beneficial result.

The principle of nonmaleficence guarantees the safety of the patient and community. Nurses are also able to inform therapy choices that are causing important injury to a patient which may include suicidal or homicidal ideations. 

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