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My Nursing Ethic

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Values and ethics play a huge role in the nursing practice. Nursing care involves preventing illness and its complications, promotion or health restoration, and reducing suffering in the terminally ill. Nurses use their technical skills, qualities such as compassion, humanitarian service and duty, and efficient decision making in meeting the needs of their patients, families, and communities. An important part of nursing is ensuring the safety and the rights of patients. Vigilance of nurses is necessary in order to avoid unwanted and unnecessary treatments that lead to patient suffering.

Nurses and other health professionals work together to educate and disseminate knowledge regarding health-related socio-cultural issues. Cultural, personal, and spiritual values influence the nursing practice greatly, which makes myself perform my duty with awareness of nursing ethics. Providing efficient and optimal care are my goals every time I perform a nursing intervention corresponding to a nursing diagnosis. I formulate a nursing care plan specific for every patient to suit their needs and develop a nurturing nurse-patient relationship. This involves being respectful to my patients and their families, ensuring physical, social, emotional and spiritual satisfaction.

As nurses, we sometimes sit back and question our nursing passion, why do we got to work and what motivates us to continue fulfilling our duties to our patients. Each time I come home exhausted from a 12 hour shift, I go back and reflect on my goal and why I am in this profession: to make a positive impact on the lives of my patients and their families every day. Being a nurse for 4 years, my passion has remained constant and I can honestly say that my high degree of compassion toward human beings is what is keeping me in the nursing profession. “Many nurses go into and stay in the nursing profession to make a difference.

They are not only passionate about taking care of other human beings and making a difference in their patients’ lives, but strive to make a difference in their facilities, communities, government, and professional organizations. Remember Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? Self-Actualization sits alone atop of the needs pyramid (behind physiological, safety, social, and esteem needs). Maslow described self-actualization as what a man can be, he must be. This level of need pertains not only to what a person’s full potential is, but realizing that potential. Did you become a nurse because you wanted to accomplish a higher degree of education and skill in order to attain self-actualization? Perhaps you stay in the profession to continue your education and continue to excel in skill and knowledge base in an effort to gain self-actualization. Is that your passion?” (Heacock, 2012).

Moral reasoning in nursing is exhibited by employing prudence in our practice. Prudence is not just having good intentions. It also consists of having the knowledge needed to take care of our patients, and transforming this into reasonable decisions (Broadie, 2002). Often in my nursing career that I have encountered complicated ethical dilemmas in which I thought about either confronting directly or just turning away. Values, morals, and ethics help me take action, even when it is hard to do the right thing. As a young adult, I have learned from my elders that my personal values and preconceptions should not mix with my professional principles. My foundation of ethical decision making lies in the Code of Conduct for Nurses. “The American Nurses Association (ANA) Code of Ethics for Nurses contains a common, shared set of ethical principles to guide nurses’ professional behavior.

All nurses are encouraged to hold to these principles in their practice of professional nursing. While the Code of Ethics for Nurses encourages nurses to remain consistent with their own personal values, it also emphasizes the need for open discussion of differing ethical principles in a manner that does not consistently place one principle above another, thus avoiding the dangers of moral arrogance and moral certitude” (Murray, 2010). Moreover, my personal values, philosophy, and worldview may conflict with my obligation to practice, creating an ethical dilemma. Many nurses have experienced this, when a patient with no advance directive goes into code blue, and the family member decides to have no resuscitative measures taken. As a person, I do not want a human being to die thinking there are still actions that could save his or her life. However, the ethical thing to do is to respect the power of attorney and let go of the patient.

Another important action to promote ethics in nursing is to support our colleagues who have the courage to voice out their opinions against unethical behavior. In becoming a nursing leader, I have learned the importance of instilling the correct values to the new nurses on the unit in order to create cohesion and uniformity, leading to excellent care and patient satisfaction. My stint as a staff nurse in a very busy hospital includes meeting nurses that are there just for the paycheck, and I personally do not want the new nurses to follow those footsteps. My passion is what makes me good at my job and at the end of the day, I know that I have done my job well when I see my patient and their families walk out of the hospital feeling better.


Broadie, S. (2002). Commentary. In C. Rowe (Trans.), Aristotle: Nicomachean ethics:
Translation, introduction, and commentary. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Heacock, S. (2012). Remembering your nursing passion. Retrieved from:
http://www.nursetogether.com/remembering-your-nursing-passion Murray, J. (2010). Moral courage in healthcare: Acting ethically even in the presence of risk.
The online journal of issues in nursing. Sept. 30, 2010.

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