, Research Paper
Code Critique of a Nurses Code
I am pursuing a career in Nursing. Upon entering this historic profession, my conduct will be guided by a Nurses Code of Ethics. This code will become a part of me, helping to judge right from wrong. Ethics is moral duty and obligation; values and beliefs. As a Registered Nurse (RN), I will be required to uphold the ethical issues written by my peers, the International Council of Nurses (ICN).
In 1973, the ICN Council of National Representatives adopted a Code for Nurses.
The fundamental responsibility of the nurse is to promote health, prevent illness, restore health and alleviate suffering. The ICN felt it was a nurses moral duty to perform these primary functions and to administer these values to those people who require nursing care, maintain a high quality of nursing practice, a nurses obligation is to safeguard the health and social needs of the public. It is apparent that a nurse must have respect for life. Not only does a nurse have a moral responsibility to the patient, but to co-workers, society and the profession itself.
There are many ethical issues prevalent in nursing including but not limited to the protection of rights of human participants in research, assisted suicides, do not resuscitate orders, active euthanasia, and genetic advances. For example, is a nurse promoting health by condoning human participants in medical research even when it may be detrimental to the patient? What does a nurse do when a patient refuses medical care when her fundamental responsibility is to restore health? Does she force the patient to take the prescribed medication? Can a nurse prevent illness with genetic advances? And is a nurse really alleviating suffering by participating in active euthanasia or assisted suicides?
There appears to be several ethical principles in the Code for Nurses.
Among them are competence, accountability, beneficence, respect, fairness, privacy and confidentiality.
Competence- the nurse carries a personal responsibility for maintaining competence by continual learning.
Accountability- the nurse must use her judgement when accepting and delegating responsibilities.
Beneficence- to restore health and alleviate suffering.
Respect- promotes an environment in which the values, customs and spiritual beliefs of the individuals are respected.
Fairness- nursing should be unrestricted by considerations of nationality, race, creed, color, age, sex, politics or social status.
Privacy and confidentiality- the nurse holds in confidence personal information and uses judgment when sharing this information.
C. Considering the identity and motives of the ICN, these ethical principles are adequate for the nursing profession because it is regulative, protective, specific and honest as well as enforced and policed. As for being entirely adequate for the nursing profession, I feel it is somewhat antiquated and lacking some important principles. Since its acceptance twenty-eight years ago, many civil and legal issues have risen creating a need for amending. The key ethical principle missing is autonomy. Individuals have a right to self-determination, to make decisions about their lives without interference from others.