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Sarah West APRN, FNP-BC

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Ethics in Nursing

Posted by Sarah West APRN, FNP-BC

Fri, Oct 21, 2022 @ 10:48 AM

GettyImages-1365601656What is Nursing Ethics?

Ethics in Nursing helps Nurses maintain professional accountability and navigate the complexities of the Nursing profession. Ethics are the moral principles by which people should carry themselves. Ethics is one of the most critical concepts in Nursing as it dictates our role as caregivers.

The Nursing code of ethics consists of 4 main principles. These principles are used to guide Nurses in delivering quality Nursing care while also fulfilling the ethical obligations expected within the profession. The principles include autonomy, beneficence, justice, and non-maleficence.

Four Main Principals of Nursing Ethics  

Autonomy

Autonomy in Nursing refers to the right each patient has to make decisions based on their personal beliefs or values. As Nurses, we are responsible for educating patients on care measures and allowing them to accept or refuse medical interventions.  We must respect the choices of our patients and adapt our care to what best suits their wants. An example of autonomy in Nursing is educating a patient about the side effects of medication and allowing the patient to accept or decline taking it.  

Beneficence

Beneficence is the principle that every action performed by the Nurse should be to promote good. This means that every task a Nurse completes during her shift should be done for the sole benefit of the patient. Simple things we do in Nursing, like holding the hand of a dying patient or taking a patient outside to get fresh air, are considered beneficence.

Justice

Justice in the Nursing code of ethics means that patients have the right to impartial treatment. We do not judge our patients in the Nursing profession. Patients must be respected and treated equally regardless of their financial or insurance status, gender, age, or ethnicity. Justice in Nursing is treating all our patients equally and ensuring they receive the best possible care regardless of their situation.

Non-maleficence

Nonmaleficence is closely related to beneficence but is a different concept altogether. Nonmaleficence means that a Nurse should do no harm to the patient. This principal guides Nurses to maintain their obligation to protect their patients. Nurses should always prevent bad outcomes for their patients whenever possible by removing them from any harm. An example of nonmaleficence in Nursing is preventing medication errors by ensuring the “7 rights” of medication administration are correct or by applying a bed alarm to a patient's bed with dementia to prevent falls.

What are Ethical Dilemmas in Nursing?

The 4 main principles of Nursing ethics prepare us to deal with the ethical dilemmas we encounter while caring for our patients. Ethical dilemmas in Nursing create a conflict between 2 courses of action.  

The competing courses of action are both correct but can create different consequences that must be considered. Ethical dilemmas are important to recognize because, as Nurses, we cannot interject our personal beliefs into the ethical dilemmas at hand. Examples of ethical dilemmas can include:  

  • Protecting the privacy of an adolescent
  • A parent refusing to vaccinate their child
  • End of life decision making
  • Informed consent
  • Pro-life vs. prochoice

Becoming an Ethical Nurse

Nursing is consistently regarded as one of the most trusted professions. Nursing ethics are essential to know and understand as it helps guide our everyday Nursing practice. Nurses are thoroughly prepared to deal with the ethical situations they encounter through many years of education and training.

Nurses can continue to learn how to conduct themselves ethically and how to deal with ethical issues through continued work experiences. Every patient interaction can teach us something new about ethical dilemmas and how we can best handle them in the workplace.

Topics: nursing ethics, Ethics, nursing career, nursing profession, nurse ethics, nursing practice

Things Nurses Wish Their Patients Knew

Posted by Sarah West APRN, FNP-BC

Mon, Oct 17, 2022 @ 02:32 PM

GettyImages-1210971758Across the entire patient experience, Nurses have a hand in almost every aspect of the patient's healthcare journey. Nurses are compassionate, and dedicated, and work tirelessly to meet the needs of their patients. Because Nurses are at the forefront of every patient interaction, there are many things that we wish our patients knew and understood about how we work and handle our everyday tasks.  

Every Patient is a Priority, but You May Have to Wait 

Nursing is a busy and fast-paced profession. Our days are jam-packed with patient care tasks, documentation, and care coordination. More often than not, it can be challenging to find time to eat, drink water, or even use the bathroom during our shifts. We hate having to make our patients wait for things they may want or need, but sometimes we wish our patients understood that we take great consideration in prioritizing our patient's needs. So, if you are asked to wait or have been waiting for something longer than you think you should have, please understand that your Nurse may have a more pressing matter to attend to, and every patient deserves our complete attention. 

Nurses are People Too 

Nurses often sacrifice their personal needs to care for their patients. As mentioned earlier, we often forgo meals and bathroom breaks to ensure we can complete all our tasks and care for your needs. Nursing can often be a thankless job. Nurses understand that you want the best quality care, and we strive to provide that to every one of our patients. Patience, understanding, and respect are all that we ask for in return. 

We Care More Than You Think We Do 

Nurses are multitaskers. At any given time, we can be juggling more tasks than you may even realize. Sometimes Nurses may come off as flustered or in a hurry, but that does not mean we do not value your wants or needs. Nurses stay late and come in on their days off to ensure their patients receive excellent care. We even think about you long after we've met because you have touched our lives. Patients are what make the Nursing profession so rewarding. We do what we do for you. 

We May Not Know Everything

We encourage our patients to ask questions, but that does not mean we have all the answers. Sometimes we may need to find the answer for you by speaking to a Doctor or collaborating with other Nurses. This does not mean we do not know what we are doing. It simply means that every patient has a different healthcare journey, and often situations arise that we may not have experience with. Our top priority is that you receive the best quality care, so if you ask a question and we do not know the answer, please rest assured that we will do everything within our power to get you the information you are looking for. 

We Do Not Judge  

Nurses do not do their jobs to judge our patients. Please always be honest when answering questions or providing your health history. Withholding information because you may be embarrassed or may not think it relevant can significantly impact the care we can provide. We care about you and want to ensure that you are cared for in the best possible way. Nurses are also prepared to take care of all your personal needs. We do not mind doing ‘gross’ or ‘embarrassing’ tasks. You do not have to say sorry for natural bodily functions. We understand and are ok with it, I promise!

The Nursing profession is a delicate blend of knowledge, compassion, and critical thinking. We strive every day to make a positive impact on the lives of our patients. A strong Nurse-patient relationship improves your healthcare experience and helps us provide you with the best quality care.

Topics: nurse-to-patient, nurse, nurses, nursing career, nursing profession, nursing workforce, nurse role, nurse communication

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