Professional Code of Conduct – Principles of Ethics in Nursing Essay Sample

Professional Code of Conduct – Principles of Ethics in Nursing Essay Sample

Principles of ethics in nursing


Ethical codes refer to systematic principles that shape the moral behavior that give answers to normative issues of what values and believes ought to be morally accepted. Even though this is so, no code can ever provide complete regulations that have no ambiguity or conflict. However, each individual has a role to play in ensuring that the conducts are adhered to by taking personal and collective action. Nursing ethics are in this context perceived as moral judgments and standards that guide the conducts of persons in this profession. There are particular health care principles of ethics that have to be followed in every arising situation (American Nurses Association, 2001).

The ethical principles


It refers to the central principle of doing great and patient advocacy. Nurses are expected to be compassionate, take positive actions, be ready to help others, in this case patients, and follow the inner need to do good. They have to concentrate on making sure that patients who are their potential clients obtain the best treatment to give optimal results. An example can be that if a nursing patient gets an injury or fracture, a nurse is expected to give him pain medication in a short span of time. Professional Code of Conduct – Principles of Ethics in Nursing Essay Sample.


 According to Fowler (2008), some of the potential ethical issues related to the principle of beneficence include reporting of any abuse, financial reimbursement, including the services that are recognized by an insurance, facility protocols, and mandatory reporting of particular transmitted illnesses. A personal experience related to this principle can be traced back when I was an intern in a local healthcare. I happened to have one male friend who was also a nurse in the same center. I noticed that on several occasions when he was on night duties, he at times escaped duties to have night dates. He often risked leaving his responsibilities to a third party, another male friend of his, who could be spotted to have a work load on such nights. Having known this principle, I opted to report the matter to the senior nurse in our department but insisted that my name be concealed. This move supported this principle by making sure that the patients get enough attention from the nurses as they deserve, since the nurse was warned against it he later changed the trend.


Patients have to be given the right to autonomy, self-determination, and the capacity to self-direct. Each one of them is entitled to decide what will happen to him or her in given circumstances. As a result of this principle, adult patients are at peace to either refuse or approve to treatment. Nurses are expected to respect and honor the wishes of their clients even when they are not in agreement with them. According t the Patient Self-Determination Act of 1990, competent individuals have the freedom to make known their wishes based on their end-of-life experience. Also included in this act is the long-lasting power of attorney, which designates a competent person to help in coming up with sound health care decisions on behalf of a patient, if he is not in a position to decide on his own due to critical health issues or some degree of incompetence. For instance, if a patient lacks the ability to decide on if he should continue with the treatment of a chronic disease or has an advance directive, the person who is the durable power of attorney can step in and make a decision on his behalf (Burkhardt & Nathaniel, 2013).

As a nurse, my responsibility towards patients in this case is to make sure that I create a friendly environment for their family members to be free to make necessary decisions on behalf of those who cannot do it. However, this should only be allowed when I have consulted the patient’s doctor and have obtained sufficient information concerning the mental state of the patient. The individual to make such decisions should also be assessed well by a doctor and his mental records made clear, along with the confirmation of the durable power of the attorney so that it can be confirmed that he is competent enough. His relationship with the patient should be warm enough to avoid conflicts. Apart from this, I should ensure that if a patent is capable of making his own decisions, these decisions should not be interfered or influenced by a team member or a physician, rather allow it to be independent. I can do this by resisting the urge interrupt his feelings, beliefs, and values into the patient. Professional Code of Conduct – Principles of Ethics in Nursing Essay Sample.


The core of nursing lies in this principle, and all health care professionals have to take the oath of adhering to it. Nurses must remain competent and display professionalism in their field to keep away from causing injury or suffering to patients. The principle also includes reporting any suspected abuse. For instance, if a chemically impaired or incompetent health giver is handling patients, it is my work as a nurse to report this kind of abuse to protect the life of patients. Failure to report such incidences will mean that the patients are at risk of wrong prescriptions, mismanagement, as well as unprofessional advices. This might cause serious consequences in their lives (Fowler, 2008).  Nonmaleficence is also important as it forms part of the legal agreement between a nurse and the government or the community at large as one takes an oath to give high quality and competent services to the public. Failure to fulfill the promise may lead to the nursing being sued for breach of conduct.

Accuracy and understanding of information

This can also be called informed consent. It involves the right of a patient to self-determination and freedom. In this principle, accurate information must be availed to patients to allow them to make concrete decisions concerning their treatment. There are a number of ways in which it can be obtained from a patient; it may be expressed or implied, meaning that it can be done verbally or in written. A nurse who performs a given procedure without informed consent of a patient can be said to have caused an assault or a battery. Nurses should not feel like they know what is best for their patients and force them to decide on basing on specific issues.

Masters, K. (2014) argue that under the principle of informed consent lie three elements, which include competence, information, and voluntary doing. As a nurse, I should ensure that I provide sufficient information that involves proper and deeper research on medical or nursing procedures before allowing a patient to participate in a given idea or decision. Sufficient information communicated to a patient will enable him to reason out and decide with limited or no regrets at all. Next is to prove that the patient has the mental ability to comprehend the impacts of the decision. He should be able to weigh the potential risks in comparison to the benefits that come along with the decision so that he can apply rational reasons to it. The last element of the principle is to ensure that the patient decides voluntarily. By so doing, I as a nurse should not coerce him to participate in the act. I should also respect his right to withdraw the decision or the act if need arises.


Still citing an example from my internship period, I remember when a certain lady by the name Jenna approached me for an abortion, following her husband’s demand due to economic hardships that the family was facing. Jenna’s pregnancy was a fifth one, which was against the couple’s plan. Before advising Jenna to make up her mind on the same, I had to explain to her the risks of having an abortion at the early stages of pregnancy as well as the benefits that it could bring to her family. I further used my research on the pro-life and pro-choice ideas and made them clear to her. At long last, Jenna was quite convinced that the risks outweighed the benefits. Since I realized that he was an illiterate woman, I had to take a few counseling sessions with her along with her husband and finally let them make the final decisions about aborting the child. I was fully convinced that the information I had given them, and the professional way that I communicated the issue to them was quite sufficient to make them decide wisely. The couple at last voluntarily accepted not to opt for abortion. This was an ethical move that saw Jenna and her husband respect the nursing profession as having health care givers who are rational and also ready to save people’s lives. In conclusion, it can be noted that ethics are incredibly vital in the nursing practice as they ensure that patients are treated correctly and for their good. Professional Code of Conduct – Principles of Ethics in Nursing Essay Sample.






American Nurses Association. (2001). Code of ethics for nurses with interpretive statements. Nursesbooks. org.

Burkhardt, M., & Nathaniel, A. (2013). Ethics and issues in contemporary nursing. Cengage Learning.

Fowler, M. D. M. (2008). Guide to the code of ethics for nurses: Interpretation and application. Nursesbooks. org.

Masters, K. (2014). Role development in professional nursing practice. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Professional Code of Conduct – Principles of Ethics in Nursing Essay Sample