On a daily basis, the average nurse uses knowledge, training and ethical standards to make vital decisions regarding patient health. Nurses are required to quickly process simple and complex emergency situations, which leaves little room for second guessing. So, to help guide those in the profession, the American Nurses Association (ANA) created a Code of Ethics.
This Code is the structure that provides foundational standards and offers guidance to practicing nurses for various situations. It also sets the standards against which nursing performance can be judged. For the first time since 2001, the ANA has revised the Nursing Code of Ethics. The revised Code was released to the public on January 1, 2015.
The revised version of the Nursing Code of Ethics is geared to help nurses in a more modern practice environment. It addresses some of the more current issues, including confidentiality issues raised by social media, treatment for end-of-life care and the integration of social justice into health care policy as a whole. These guidelines need to be updated as conditions and society changes, and health care advances and presents new problems.
What Changes Were Made?
Provisions 1-3: These contain newly established guidelines on advocating for the patient, family and community, along with the need to exercise kindness and respect in all professional relationships.
Provisions 4-6: Contains new guidelines on delivering and maintaining competent care that includes self-respect and self-care, accountability, and responsibility to continue learning and growing personally and professionally.
Provisions 7-9: Sets forth broader health issues in the community and on a national and international level, along with the advancement of professional values, social policy and education.
The Nursing Code of Ethics is a reflection of the proud ethical heritage of nursing and serves as a guide and promise to society for all nurses now and into the future.
To view the complete revised Nursing Code of Ethics, click here.
What are your thoughts on the updates made to the code of ethics? Do you think it will help nurses identify components of real-world problems and analyze the situation effectively? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.
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Howard, Cynthia. “2015: The Year of Nursing Ethics.” Nurse Together. (February 5, 2015). From: http://www.nursetogether.com/2015-the-year-of-nursing-ethics
Northeast Ohio Media Group Marketing Staff. “Year of Ethics Offers Nurses Guidance and Support Regarding Moral Decisions.” Cleveland.com. (April 15, 2015). From: http://blog.cleveland.com/university_hospitals_health_system_inc/2015/04/year_of_ethics_offers_nurses_g.html
American Nurses Association. “Code of Ethics for Nurses With Interpretive Statements.” (May 1, 2015). From: http://www.nursingworld.org/Mobile/Code-of-Ethics
About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. http://www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.
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