Ethics In Nursing
Strong Ethics are essential in nursing. If they are full of flaws, it will reduce the ability to succeed in achieving endeavors and providing professional, humane care to patients.
These are the standard ethics in nursing.
Autonomy in medical practice is the right by a patient to make informed decisions about medical care. The principle underlies a requirement for nurses to seek the consent or make an informed agreement with the patient before examination and treatment. This part of ethics applies when a patient wants to exercise autonomy by refusing some therapy, especially life-sustaining care. A decision in the medical context is autonomous when an adult can make relevant decisions with sufficient information to help in deciding. The decision should be voluntary.
However, it is acceptable for someone else to decide on behalf of a patient who cannot do it alone. It is mostly up to the in-charge health professional or an appointed proxy to make the decision.Parents and guardians have the autonomy to decide on behalf of their children, but in the case of adults, it is essential to determine the reasons why a representative should act on behalf of a patient and if there is coercion. God practice requires spending some time with the patient alone to confirm if a decision is genuine as intimidation is not acceptable.
Beneficence is an ethical principle dictating that a nurse should act to promote good. The good is an action that serves the best interests of the patients. It closely relates to but different from non-maleficence an ethical principle barring acts that would harm a patient.
In beneficence, nurses should think about the entire wellness of their patients and take actions in consideration of long-term outcomes. Acting for the good of a patient could mean asking the person to undergo an intense procedure to prolong life and improve its quality while the ailing person thinks the best thing is to withdraw life-sustaining care to cause death and end suffering. Before acting, beneficence indicates that the nurse thinks critically about the needs of the patient. Such decisions should not be hasty.
Non-maleficence means non-harming of a patient or inflicting the least possible harm to achieve a beneficial outcome. Nurses should not offer ineffective care and treatment or to act with malice towards a patient. This principle contradicts beneficence when administering therapies that contribute to healing but also have serious risks. Nurses should not be part of ineffective treatments to patients as they offer risk without any possibility of benefit thus increasing the likelihood of harming a patient. They should refrain doing anything that purposefully harms a patient if the action does not have a balanced, proportional benefit.
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Justice in nursing ethics means giving patients what they deserve. The measure of justice is equality, fairness, need and other relevant criteria that is significant to a just decision. Justice in nursing means providing equitable access to care and allocation of resources.Under this principle, all patients have a right to fair and equitable health care without consideration of these factors:
- Economic statust
- Race, nationality or ethnicity
Privacy and Confidentiality
This ethical principle states that patients have the privacy that no one should take away unless with authority by the person. Confidentiality means non-sharing of patient information with other parties, and if there is any sharing, it should be for the intended purposes. Sharing of private patient details imposes the responsibility of confidentiality on the healthcare providers including nurses. The responsibility means that providers can only share information on a need to know basis and with authorized persons.
It is an essential provision since patients fear for the privacy of their health status especially if they have high-risk conditions like HIV/AIDS, cancer, mental illness, genetic or venereal diseases. A revelation of their state is likely to make them vulnerable.
Ethics in nursing are essential in setting values, obligations, and goals in the profession for delivery of standard care.