Ethics, a branch of philosophy refers to the values for human conduct, considering the rightness and wrongness of actions and motives. As nursing profession is an integral part of the health care environment, the nursing ethics provides the insight to the values and ethical principles governing nursing practice, conduct, and relationships.
The Code of Ethics for Nurses, adopted by the American Nurses’ Association (ANA) is intended to provide definite standards of practice and conduct that are essential to the ethical discharge of the nurse’s responsibility (American Nurses Association, 2012) A nurse cultivates personal ethics through personal, cultural and spiritual values which becomes a moral compass for their professional ethics. Personal ethics in combination with the code of ethics often assist the nurses in personal and social decision making during ethical dilemma.
This ability prompts them to better respond to needs of the suffering patient and their own well-being. This paper will discuss the personal, cultural, and spiritual values contributing to nurses’ individual worldview and philosophy of nursing and the moral and ethical dilemma being faced in this profession. Values Contributing to Individual’s Worldview and Philosophy of Nursing Born in a Christian middle class Western Indian family, the strict traditional values helped to embed the concept of service, trust, respect, integrity and responsibility through family, friends, education and beliefs.
The personal and spiritual belief on the remarks, “Do to others as you would have them do to you”, from the New International Version of Bible has kindled the concept of service, integrity and respect at an early age of one’s personal life. The cultural quench to care for fellow humans and strive to make difference in one’s own life prompts one to accept Nursing as a profession. Acquaintance to different cultures, languages and religions influences the world views and nursing decisions in providing culturally sensitive care.
The traditional spiritual and cultural moral values along with diverse worldviews became the directorial moral compass to take the right decision on behalf of the patients and personal life and empowered to improve the confidence and capability as a nurse. Values, Morals and Ethics in Nursing Practice Values, Morals and Ethics are often reflected as interweaved behavioral rules. Values are one’s fundamental beliefs developed from childhood through family and society. Morals are values that attribute to a system of beliefs.
Ethics is the ability to make right and wrong decision based on adopted morals (Navran F. J. , 2010). When values, morals and ethics of an individual have influence over the nurses’ professional conduct, it often tips to conflicting situation in one’s nursing practices. One such situation is the issue of ‘abortion’. When a nurse’ spiritual doctrine is against abortion, it would be against their moral to assist in decision making to abort the baby even when the fetus is deformed, thus arising an ethical dilemma between the personal moral values and the professional ethics.
Thus a communication barrier is often felt by nurses while dealing with physicians/ patients during the early days of practice in different cultures but eventually scholar to converse on behalf of the patient and to be an efficient patient advocate. The moral values adopted during the years of experience gets reformed with new believes and practices and hence enables to provide better ethical care during the nursing profession. The Codes of Ethics serves as guidelines when the nurse’s individual moral values conflict with the actions expected from their profession (American Nurses Association, 2012).
Morals and Ethical Dilemmas Faced in the Health Care Field As nurse’s role in health care environment varies from caring, communicating, teaching to advocating and leadership, the likelihood of moral and ethical dilemma is inescapable. Such situations arise when there is an opposing conflict among intentions, decisions, and actions between the right and wrong. A common dilemma faced by the care providers is based on religious and spiritual background.
Some religions do not support induced death by humans and nurses may have trouble supporting the patient and family about cases like abortion. Although it is the individual’s right to make decisions about their bodies, the religious values do not allow one to be a part of the procedure. Another issue is when nurses encounter’s with patients diagnosed with AIDS or other sexually acquired diseases. The nurses become judgmental towards the patient ultimately interfering in the care of such patients.
Any of the above circumstances affects the behavior and decision making to provide quality care to the patients that will place nurses in ethical dilemma, and will force them to turn towards the ethical guidelines set forth by the Code of Ethics for Nurses. The nurses should always strive to safeguard patient’s right, and their well-being while maintaining professional integrity (American Nurses Association, 2010) . Conclusion Nurses’ being the important element of the health care field, their decisions along with commitment plays an essential role for the welfare and safety of humanity.
Their decision making capabilities molded from the framework of their personal, cultural and spiritual values often lead them to ethical dilemma. In situation with conflicting moral values, the nurses are expected to be professional and ethical, and refer the Code of Ethics to get guidance for the ethical dilemma to allow nurses to deliver quality care. Although a nurses’ worldview is influenced by the cultural, religion and moral values, one should follow the code to maintain the respectability and integrity of their profession.
Courtney from Study Moose
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