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Understanding Ethical Practice in Nursing: Part Two

Nurses Article   (380 Views | 0 Replies | 597 Words)
by Damion Jenkins Damion Jenkins, MSN, RN (Trusted Brand) Trusted Brand Writer Innovator Expert Nurse

Damion Jenkins has 10 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in NCLEX Prep Expert - 100% Pass Rate!.

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Collaborative and Innovative Solutions

Nurses play an integral role in the advocacy of the patients and families in which they serve. Whether it be advocating for more aggressive treatment to meet their patient’s needs, or escalating perceived ethical challenges in nursing practice to the ethics committee, nurses are trusted to do what’s best for their patients. In order for nurses to do what is considered to be 'best' for their patients, we must first understand the basics of ethics as it applies to nursing.

Understanding Ethical Practice in Nursing: Part Two
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In part one of this three part series, we discussed: 

  • The Nursing Code of Ethics
  • Ethical challenges in Nursing

In this part two, we will identify some collaborative and innovative solutions to improve ethical nursing practice. 

Collaborative Solutions to Enhance Ethical Practice in Nursing

Since the dawn of modern nursing, nurses have borne the brunt of trauma, despair, grief, loss and patient suffering. They are faced with monumental ethical dilemmas on a daily basis because they are always on the frontlines in the delivery of patient care, healthcare inequities, patient trauma, grief, and loss. No matter what - good, bad, or ugly - nurses are always there on the frontlines. As nurses fight to improve workplace conditions, seek legislation to support safe staffing ratios, and pull up a seat at the table as a valuable stakeholder, all while dealing with the daily grind of just being a nurse - it is no surprise that high staff turnover, job dissatisfaction and burnout among nurses is common within healthcare settings.  

The truth is that nurses can only recharge their compassion batteries so many times without additional support from outside energy sources . After a while, the nurse's batteries will drain and the nurse will be forced to find another energy source elsewhere. If they are not supported and allowed to recharge appropriately, nurses will continue to leave jobs, be dissatisfied, and experience burnout. 

As a result, it is crucial that nurses are supported by their leadership and administration during times of ethical dilemma and moral distress. Healthy workplace experts and nursing ethics committees have made several suggestions for daily system, educational, and operational changes that leadership can adopt to help address ethical challenges, increase nursing resilience, and improve nursing ethical wellbeing - which ultimately improves employee retention and job satisfaction. 

Here are the latest suggestions for collaborative and innovative solutions:

  • Improve processes to promote mental and physiological well-being of nurses, such as nutritional, physical and mental health services that are free of charge for employees
  • Develop initiatives to empower and enable nurses to speak up during times of ethical dilemma and moral distress 
  • Create unit-based interventional programs aiming to enhance the quality of communication among colleagues and other members of the healthcare team
  • Implement multidisciplinary rounds to address ethical considerations and dilemmas, as well as support one another in their coping, grief and mental health
  • Teach effective coping strategies towards work-related stress and assertiveness attitudes
  • Promote ethical dilemma and moral distress education for all healthcare staff
  • Provide counseling services for all healthcare staff (especially nurses) who are facing ethical dilemma, moral distress, and/or PTSD from work-related traumas and loss
  • Transparency of action plans to address ethical dilemmas in nursing from nursing leadership and facility administration
  • Incorporate collaborative interdisciplinary workplace safety initiatives that focus on best practices to manage violence at all levels. 
  • Implement holistic resilience programs, such as supporting wellness, secured meal breaks, access to filtered water, healthy snacks, relaxation modalities, and extended grief leave benefits to reduce workplace related stress and PTSD

Complex, Holistic & Rewarding

These complex interventions are not easy to establish into everyday practice and will take a lot of interdisciplinary effort, However, once these practices are in place, healthcare facilities will see happier, healthier and more resilient nursing teams. 

Stay tuned for part three, where we will discuss how to identify barriers to providing ethical care and disucss some Nurse-driven ethical practice improvement initiatives. 

Best Wishes, 



Christodoulou-Fella, M., Middleton, N., Papathanassoglou, E., & Karanikola, M. (2017, October 25). Exploration of the Association between Nurses' Moral Distress and Secondary Traumatic Stress Syndrome: Implications for Patient Safety in Mental Health Services. Retrieved August 20, 2018, from https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2017/1908712/

Gallup, Inc. (2017, December 26). Nurses Keep Healthy Lead as Most Honest, Ethical Profession. Retrieved August 6, 2018, from https://news.gallup.com/poll/224639/nurses-keep-Healthy-lead-honest-ethical-profession.aspx

Jenkins, D. (2016, October 17). Prevalence of bullying in nursing - and how to handle it. Retrieved August 19, 2018, from http://thenursespeak.com/prevalence-of-bullying-in-nursing

Damion Jenkins, RN, MSN is an NCLEX Prep Expert and CEO of The Nurse Speak. Named the "NCLEX Whisperer" in an article by Nurse Beth, Damion provides individualized one-to-one tutoring and mentoring services for nursing students, and new graduate nurses. For more information about Damion and his NCLEX tutoring service, check out thenursespeak.com

6 Followers; 20 Articles; 8,298 Profile Views; 79 Posts

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