An impossible ethic

  1. I just got done reading the ANAs Code of Ethics with Interpretive Statements.
    If this is the moral code that all nurses are held to then any nurse I have worked with or met is not an ethical nurse,my self included.
    This ethic is a nice ideal,something to strive for,but surely seems an impossible goal.
    Any one else read the code and have comments?
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   ZAROZINIA
    i have not read youre code of ethics but i do believe that the nature of the nurse / patient relationship makes it difficult to adhere to a strict set of rules. There has to be some give and take, some leeway.
    Have you ever been in a position where you are acting in the best interests of one patient but whilst doing so you are not always acting the best interests of the other patients within the same area?
    Human nature is far to complex to be approached with one set of rules
  4. by   semstr
    What comes to my mind here is the saying:
    Well meant, isn't necessarily well done.

    Take care, Renee
  5. by   fiestynurse
    For the most part, neither the professional codes or the Nurse Practice Acts provides guidance in what ought to occur when the nurse must act to focus on some deficiency that she/he observes in order to safe guard individual clients or the public. The ethical code calls for nurses to be accountable professionals, yet fails to acknowledge that, in reality, nurses have little power within the health care system. And the managed care system, as a whole, is unethical in and of itself because it puts the bottom line above patient care. If nurses adhere strictly to the code's directives they are often called upon to make personal and professional sacrifices, including loss of employment. We all know what happens to nurses who speak up or "blow the whistle" on unsafe practices. There is a definite clash between the code of ethics and the day to day reality for nurses. It places unreasonable burdens on nurses. Most facilities that we work at are not functioning in an ethically responsible manner when it comes to patient care.

    Code of Ethics for Nurses - Provisions
    Approved as of June 30, 2001

    The ANA House of Delegates approved these nine provisions of the new Code of Ethics for Nurses at its June 30, 2001 meeting in Washington, DC. In July, 2001, the Congress of Nursing Practice and Economics voted to accept the new language of the interpretive statements resulting in a fully approved revised Code of Ethics for Nurses With Interpretive Statements. For further information, contact Gladys White at the Center of Ethics and Human Rights.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The nurse, in all professional relationships, practices with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth and uniqueness of every individual, unrestricted by considerations of social or economic status, personal attributes, or the nature of health problems.

    The nurse's primary commitment is to the patient, whether an individual, family, group, or community.

    The nurse promotes, advocates for, and strives to protect the health, safety, and rights of the patient.

    The nurse is responsible and accountable for individual nursing practice and determines the appropriate delegation of tasks consistent with the nurse's obligation to provide optimum patient care.

    The nurse owes the same duties to self as to others, including the responsibility to preserve integrity and safety, to maintain competence, and to continue personal and professional growth.

    The nurse participates in establishing, maintaining, and improving healthcare environments and conditions of employment conducive to the provision of quality health care and consistent with the values of the profession through individual and collective action.

    The nurse participates in the advancement of the profession through contributions to practice, education, administration, and knowledge development.

    The nurse collaborates with other health professionals and the public in promoting community, national, and international efforts to meet health needs.

    The profession of nursing, as represented by associations and their members, is responsible for articulating nursing values, for maintaining the integrity of the profession and its practice, and for shaping social policy.
    Last edit by fiestynurse on Dec 8, '01
  6. by   ohbet
    All of what has been said about the Nurses Code of Ethics is true,and whats really puzzling to me is that code was formulated by nurses. Why would nurses draw up a code that they know no one can adhere to?...And there is somewhere in the code that these ethics are non-negotiable. Well thats a lie,cause we negotiate the ethical code all the time.Im mean how many nurses are going to risk their jobs to report unsafe ,incompetent,unethical, illegal or impaired practice within the employment setting? The code even states that "reporting questionable practices may present substantial risks to the nurse; nevertheless,such risks do not eliminate the obligation to address serious threats to patient safety".I think the code could be adhered to by only one person,but he died on the cross 2000 years ago,but then again ,he couldnt keep them any way,he wasnt a nurse.
  7. by   Simplepleasures
    [quote=fiestynurse;72180]For the most part, neither the professional codes or the Nurse Practice Acts provides guidance in what ought to occur when the nurse must act to focus on some deficiency that she/he observes in order to safe guard individual clients or the public. The ethical code calls for nurses to be accountable professionals, yet fails to acknowledge that, in reality, nurses have little power within the health care system. And the managed care system, as a whole, is unethical in and of itself because it puts the bottom line above patient care. If nurses adhere strictly to the code's directives they are often called upon to make personal and professional sacrifices, including loss of employment. We all know what happens to nurses who speak up or "blow the whistle" on unsafe practices. There is a definite clash between the code of ethics and the day to day reality for nurses. It places unreasonable burdens on nurses. Most facilities that we work at are not functioning in an ethically responsible manner when it comes to patient care.

    Anybody out there "blow the whistle" and live to tell the story?
  8. by   jimthorp
    Quote from ohbet
    All of what has been said about the Nurses Code of Ethics is true,and whats really puzzling to me is that code was formulated by nurses. Why would nurses draw up a code that they know no one can adhere to?...

    Not at all puzzling to me considering my recent interaction with the PA-BON.
  9. by   SaderNurse05
    I can tell you that at my old hospital anyone who claimed Safe Harbor ( the Texas way of whistle blowing) did not last 6 weeks after the incident. According to the few veteran nurses on the floor it was a sure way to get written up and run off. Of course, in Texas we are employed "at will" so it is pretty easy to can someone. Very discouraging.
  10. by   talaxandra
    Real life and ethical theory often inhabit different universes.
    Given that nursing codes of ethics are formulated by nurse academics, are we really surprised that they are untenable to put in to practice? I submit for your attention the more... interesting NANDA diagnoses, half a dozen nursing theories (including nursing ethics of care), and the ever growing mounds of irrelevent paperwork.
  11. by   llg
    I think you are all being to harsh in your judgments. Ethical statements are written for the purpose of stating general principles that should be used to guide actions -- not as descriptions of actual working conditions. To equate the two is "comparing apples to oranges."

    For example, the nurse can hold herself accountable for her own actions even though the system does not give her complete autonomy. The nurse can advocate for optimal patient care even in a system that is far from perfect, etc.
  12. by   caroladybelle
    Very old thread alert
  13. by   talaxandra
    Thanks - I didn't even think to look at the date!
  14. by   Simplepleasures
    Quote from caroladybelle
    Very old thread alert
    Are ethics discussions no longer worthy?

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