Code of Ethics in Nursing Leadership Roles – Care Example

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"Code of Ethics in Nursing Leadership Roles" is a delightful example of a paper on care. Nurses are medical professionals that have a great number of contact with patients, and due to their jobs, they are some of the first respondents to a person’ s needs. They work very closely with their patients and their families in order to provide health-related care and comfort, and due to this, they often come across pieces of information about the patient, their families, illness, habits, or situation that must not be shared. On the other hand, there are certain scenarios that require a nurse to divulge information about the patient, or their illness to certain privileged people, often in order to further assist the patient. These types of scenarios can and will put nurses in situations wherein they will be unsure of what they can, and should do.

These scenarios make it hard for nurses to decide whether to divulge information about the patient or not. This is where the “ Code of Ethics for Nurses” comes in. This will help guide patients on what is or isn’ t appropriate. One other guide source for nurses is their leaders or immediate supervisors.

As these supervisors can provide immediate feedback to their subordinates regarding ethical information dissemination, they should also be closely guided by the code of ethics, as their decisions can affect their subordinate nurses and their individual patients, and even the medical institution. This paper aims to identify some issues which relate to the code of ethics, and will also relate it to leadership, and the leader’ s role in upholding the code. It will attempt to discuss this in subtopics and then will later conclude with some rationalizations and suggestions for nurses.

The subtopics that will be discussed are as follows: A look at the code of ethics Issues of nursing ethics Issues of ethics related to nursing leadership Conclusion A look at the code of ethics The code of ethics is a list of guidelines that were set for nurses in order to serve as a response to a nurse’ s work situation. According to an article in icn. ch, the code is based on “ social values and needs. ” The same article tells us that the most recent revision for the ICN code of nurses was in 2006, and has served as a standard guideline since 1953. The code focuses on 4 elements, namely Nurses and people, nurses and practice, Nurses and the profession, and Nurses and co-workers.

It also contains some suggestions for its use, and details some job-specific actions that must be done in order to uphold the code. There are also other organizations that have written code of ethics guides similar to the ICN code of ethics. They have taken the principle of the ICN code and created code with their own take.

An example is the ANA code of ethics, written by the American Nursing Association. It lists similar concerns to the ICN code, but in a different, list-oriented format. Issues of nursing ethics The ICN code of ethics was created in order to tackle certain issues and is constantly being revised and evolved in order to handle changing issues related to the reality facing today’ s nurses. In an article found in nursezone. com, we are told about the constantly evolving code of ethics, which is done as a response to constantly evolving moral standards and ethical views or needs.

Issues mentioned are “ nursing and murder” , “ nursing issues during a natural disaster” , and “ vaccination issues” . (Orlovsky, C. 2006) This shows us that the code evolves with time in order to become an appropriate response to the time’ s needs. The article foresees the same issues from 2006 being tackled for another 10 years, and as such, the current code of ethics has remained unchanged since then. It is still geared towards answering questions about the nurse’ s duties to the 4 elements previously mentioned above. Issues of ethics related to nursing leadership The ICN Code of ethics provides certain job-based action suggestions that should ideally be followed.

One of the job roles that are mentioned therein is the nurses and managers or leaders. The effects or consequences of the ICN Code of ethics have a definite impact on nurses because it is a guide, but that impact is multiplied or magnified tenfold for the nurse managers or leaders. This is because they must follow the code much more religiously than their subordinates in order to set the correct example.

Their decisions regarding the code are also magnified because they handle a group of people who follow their lead, and the wrong judgment on one scenario may be repeated with other subordinates and their patients. Nursing managers and leaders are also considered “ Stewards” . An article on ncbi. nlm. nih. gov likens Nursing leadership to stewardship. It states” Stewardship is a concept that offers nurse leaders critical insight into how they can assist nurses” (Murphy, Norma 2009). This article also states that nurse leaders have the potential ability to influence and empower nurses.

This powerful potential, coupled with the correct interpretation and implementation of the ICN Code of ethics would combine to make for a powerful force in the nursing practice. In a lecture at the University of Texas at Austin, Nursing school called “ Preparing Ethical Leaders in Healthcare” ethical decision making for leaders was discussed as the main focus of the lecture. It tells us that “ RNs are positioned to make a significant impact at the bedside with ethical decision-making perhaps more so than any other group of healthcare providers. ” , and this must be recognized and supported by the nursing leaders.

RN’ s are always faced with ethical decisions and because of this, they must get the proper support and advice from their leaders and nursing managers in order for them to properly translate that support into correct and ethical decisions at the bedside. Nursing leaders are very relevant due to their influence and decision making responsibilities. They can be either the make or break of a patient’ s health and even the medical institution’ s reliability can depend on the nursing leaders.

This means that they must learn the ICN code of ethics by heart and must always be looped into new updates or revisions to the ICN code of ethics. Conclusion Looking back at the information provided as well as the paperwork we have included, we can definitely conclude that the ICN code of ethics for nurses is a very big part of both nursing and nursing leadership. It is definitely a must for nurse leaders in order to correctly manage certain situations. The nurse leader must also have the correct skillset and idea, which will be utilized in the correct and effective management of his or her subordinate nurses. One more detail to keep in mind is that the ICN code of ethics is changed and updated regularly and because of this, leaders must be flexible enough to adapt to any changes that have been made or adapted, Lastly and most importantly, the nurses themselves must carefully study, understand and interpret the code of ethics.

Any clarifications that need to be made should be made before a critical situation occurs. The nurses must learn from the nurse leaders on what must be done and what can be done.

They must also take the initiative to study the code, rather than leaving all of the responsibility to their leaders.


ANA (2001). Code of ethics for nurses. Retrieved 2012, March 28 from

Gordon, D. (2012). Preparing Ethical Leaders in Healthcare. Retrieved 2012, March 28 from

International Council of Nurses. (2006). The ICN Code of Ethics for Nurses. International Council of Nurses, 3, place Jean-Marteau, 1201 Geneva (Switzerland)

Murphy, N. (2009). Nurse Leaders as Stewards: The Beginning of Change. Retrieved 2012, March 28 from

Oriovsky, C. (2006). The Nursing Code of Ethics Tackles Tough Issues of the Past, Present, and Future. Retrieved 2012, March 28 from

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