Ethical issues that nurses face

It is important for nurses to adhere to the certified nursing code of ethics. These professionals are placed in positions of responsibility and many patients depend upon them to carry out their duties in the right way. The fact that patients trust the nurses with their lives makes it all the more important for ethics to be followed closely. The stipulated code of ethics is well defined so that nursing staff can be held accountable. Here are various ethical issues that nurses face:

Handling each patient diligently: The main ethic is that the staff must work diligently to preserve life. Easing patients suffering is another very important task that these staff have to fulfill. Each patients social, spiritual, physical and emotional needs are very important and these professionals are charged with maintaining this for the patients.

Good health habits are important and the staff need to model this so that a good example is set for the patients. Taking good care of themselves will allow the nurses to teach patients how to conduct themselves. This includes resting adequately, eating the right food, exercising and having regular medical check ups.

Competence: Nursing ethics relies heavily on competence. A nurse is completely responsible for all the procedures to be performed or decisions to be taken on duty. They should be experienced and most importantly, properly trained for the task they are about to perform. A LPV or a licensed practitioner nurse is competent to perform all basic nursing tasks under the licensure. With additional training, degree and experience, nurses achieve proficiency in executing advanced nursing techniques.

Treating all patients equally: Patients need to be treated equally by the staff. Apart from being unethical it is also illegal to discriminate against patients due to race, religion or sexual preference. Nurses have to adhere to the guidelines or face severe consequences.

Confidentiality: Confidentiality is another big concern that many people have. Patients and family members of patients right to privacy must be maintained at all times. The staff may also not discuss their own personal business with patients while at work. While every patient has the right to privacy and there are times when this may be violated. It may include contagious disease that must be reported and even gunshot wounds as well as child abuse are some other aspects that should be reported immediately. These are the characteristics of an Ethical dilemma in nursing. It is incumbents on every nurse to realize not only their own values and ethics but also of the patients.

Constant updates with technological changes: In terms of the certified nursing code of ethics, it is necessary for nurses to be committed to ongoing continuing education. Medical science and technology changes all the time as there is often advancements and breakthroughs in medical science. The staff need to be up to date with this so that they can administer the right care to patients.


In order to be ethical all the nurses must have justice, veracity, respect, autonomy and beneficence. They must always keep the safety and needs of the patient first in their care. Even they must consider not inflicting harm or evil as fairness and justice are their qualities in which they need to cultivate. There are situations where sovereignty can be dishonored like maintaining integrity of the health care profession, preventing suicide and protecting third parties.

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