Nursing practice, like medicine, is also governed with ethical principles by which they are expected to perform their duties. Indeed, the moral sense of their duty lies with in this context of ethical considerations which according to Anne Bishop and John Scudder is “to lift out the moral significance of their practice and to develop facility in understanding how to fulfill the moral imperatives in their practice” (2001, p. 13)
Bishop and Scudder contends that the moral issue in nursing ethics “concern with relationship of good in the sense of attentive, efficient, and effective with good in the personal sense” (2001, p.
19). It means of understanding the ways of the practice of nursing and employing them to foster welfare of the patient.
Graham Rumbold in his book, Ethics in Nursing, pointed out that nursing evolves as a distinct profession from a medicine. He said, “Nurses no longer see themselves as handmaidens to the doctor but, at the very least, partners in care and at best practitioners in their own right” (Rumbold 1999, p.
9) Patricia Cronin and Karen Rawlings-Anderson citing Pierson (1999) pointed out that nursing practice, education and research has been significantly influenced by Cartesian philosophy. They state, “Nursing using the conventions of Cartesian philosophy would be able to describe, explain, predict, and control the phenomena of concern in nursing practice” (Cronin & Anderson 2004, p. 10).
Regarding the practice of nursing, William Cody pointed out that the nurse “is obligated to practice in such a way that seeks to avoid harm and to benefit the patient” (2006, p.
139). Cody said good nursing is more than a cluster of technique in that it involves a commitment to a moral end and is directed and judge by the end. George Khushf emphasized that nursing practice must be governed by ethical behavior and described the good nurse as “an individual who was virtuous and who followed certain rules in caring for the sick” (Khushf 2004, p. 490).
Khushf pointed out that the ethical behaviors that were expected of the nurse, included loyalty, modesty, trustworthiness, obedience, promptness, quietness, cheerfulness, and deference to authority figure (2004, p. 490). Louise Rebraca Shives that the ANA or the American Nurses Association identified four primary principles to guide ethical decisions; “The client’s right to autonomy, the client’s right to beneficence, (doing good by the nurse), the client’s right to veracity (honesty and truth by the nurse), and the ethical principle4s of fidelity or the nurse faithful duties, obligations, and promises when providing care” (Shives 2006, p. 52)
But nurses’ responsibility extends beyond their hospital duties. Sarah T. Fry argued, “Practicing nurses are also responsible for working within the professional organization to establish and maintain equitable social and economic working conditions in cursing” (Fry 2002, p. 136). Fry stressed that nurse collaborates with co-workers in bringing social and economic concerns to the awareness of employers and the members of the community, even if this means to participate in organized labor demonstration.
Despite of the importance of the nursing practice in hospitals, nurses may also be at great risk of being sued if one appears oblivious or unresponsive to the needs of the patient, the family, or both. Charles Sharpe pointed out, “The practitioner who attempt to care too much” (1999, p. 42).
He emphasized that the conscientious, dedicated nurse who oversteps the limits of his clinical skills, training, and professional knowledge in providing what may well be meticulous care, places him or her self and the patient in jeopardy (Sharpe 1999, p. 42). Susan Westrick Killion and Katherine Dempski stressed that “when a nurse’s professional negligence rises to the level of reckless disregard for human life the nurse may face criminal charges of negligent homicide or manslaughter” (2006, p. 9).
Bishop, AH & Scudder, JR 2001, Nursing Ethics: Holistic Caring Practice, Jones Bartlett Publisher, Massachusetts, USA.
Cody, W 2006, Philosophical and Theoretical Perspectives for Advanced Practice, Jones and Bartlett Publisher, Massachuserrs, USA.
Cronin, P & Anderson KR 2004, Knowledge for Contemporary Nursing Practice, Elsevier Limited, London, UK.
Fry, St 2002, Ethics in Nursing Practice: A Guide To Ethical Decision Making, Blackwell Publishing Company, Oxford, UK.
Khusf, G 2004, Handbook Of Bioethics: Taking Stock of the Field From a Philosophical Perspective, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Massachusetts, USA.
Killion, SW & Dempski K 2006, Quick Look Nursing: Legal and Ethical Issues, Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Massachusetts, USA.
Rumbold, G 1999, Ethics in Nursing Practice, Elsevier Limited, Philadelphia, USA.
Sharpe, C 1999, Nursing Malpractice: Liability and Risk Management, Green Wood Publishing Group, USA.
Shives, LR 2006, Basic Concepts of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, USA.