"Ethics and Professionalism in Nursing" is a perfect example of a paper on care. Professionalism and ethical considerations are critical elements in all institutions and professions. Ethical conduct forms part of the code of regulations that guide professionals to carry themselves in the course of discharging their duties. Failure to adhere to the code of conduct can have devastating consequences for the individual and the organization. In the nursing profession, the importance of ethics and professionalism is more critical than other occupations considering that nurses interact with patients who need critical care.
The stress placed on human life calls for nurses to be extra careful when executing their mandate to ensure that their actions or inactions do not lead to loss of life. Any form of professional misconduct or unethical practice can influence the nurse or the institution into problems. Nurses must ensure that they are well acquainted with the nursing code of conduct to ensure that they uphold their professionalism. There are many reasons why nurses should be ethical in their work. Protecting life and eliminating suffering is one of the critical functions of the nursing profession (American Nurses Association, 2016).
These functions can only be achieved if the nursing code of conduct is observed. In some instances, the nurse may be required to offer care to patients who may be demanding to the point of them being irritating. However, the nurse should ensure that all patients should be treated equally despite their conditions as outlined in the code of ethics for nurses (Epstein & Turner 2015). The first provision in the code requires nurses to treat all patients with dignity.
The nurse should understand patient behavior and develop strategies to deal with their different personalities professionally and ethically. Nurses should not allow their work to be influenced by their attitudes towards the patients. The patients' right is an essential consideration for nurses in executing their mandate as outline in provision three of the code of ethics. One of the most significant rights is privacy, whereby nurses are required to observe it by not disclosing any information relating to the patient to a third party (Lisa & Robin 2020). Privacy is a critical element in care as it enables the patient to share sensitive information with the nurse, which they would otherwise not have shared if the confidentiality of such information is not guaranteed.
It is the nurses' responsibility to cultivate an environment of trust that will facilitate secrecy by making the patient believe in them. For the nurses, privacy should be developed to help them get information from the patients, but they should ensure that they protect the information. The importance of confidentiality is of great significance to the nursing profession, which explains why they must take an oath during their graduation to protect patient's rights and privacy.
In most jurisdictions, failure to protect patient information can carry a fine or even a jail term. To avoid such situations, nurses should remain true to their calling and respect the patients' rights. There are ethical dilemmas that exist in nursing, and making a decision may lead to contravening the code of ethics. Nurses should be aware of these dilemmas so that they can approach them with caution and where they are not sure what to do, they can involve their supervisors who may have more experience in dealing with such issues.
One of the common dilemmas relates to informed consent, where the patient has a right to decide the type of medical care that should be administered (Manti & Licari 2018). The issue of ethical dilemma emanates from the fact that the patient may have limited knowledge of the options available and thereby likely to make a wrong choice. The nurse should be aware of their role in such circumstances and be cautious not to cross the boundaries.
In such a situation, the nurse's role is limited to advising the patient on the best treatment. Nurses offering such advice should be professional and offer the best advice to their knowledge without being influenced by other factors such as financial gains. The nurse should respect the patient's decision irrespective of whether it is the best one or not. The nurse should, under no circumstance, administer a different treatment method other than the one chosen by the patient. The protection of human rights should extend to the field of nursing research.
Provision seven of the code of ethics gives nurses the authority to research to promote healthcare. Such research will help enrich nursing literature and help the nurse in personal development, especially when undertaking higher academic qualifications. There are ethical considerations that must be enforced when conducting medical research, and failure to observe them leads to a breach of patient's rights. The consequence of failing to observe the patient's rights can lead to the withdrawal of the operating license and end the nursing career of the affected person.
In such a situation, nurses should seek informed consent from their patients before they can engage them in research. The participants must be fully aware that they are participants in the study, and they should be in a position to opt out of the survey freely if they do not wish to continue with it (Manti & Licari 2018). The participants must also be informed of the research purpose so that they can be in a position to decide whether to take part in it or not. The researcher should not use the research findings for the purpose in which it was not intended.
In the case of vulnerable groups such as children and people suffering from conditions such as dementia, the researcher should seek consent from someone who can legally decide on their behalf (Roberta & Allison 2017). Enhancing ethics in research helps promote the credibility of the findings and averts possible adverse outcomes associated with the failure to ethical in the study. Maintaining professionalism and observing ethical conduct is a strategy that can be used in developing a positive image of an organization.
Reputation at the personal or institutional level is critical in the healthcare sector. Patients are more likely to visit a facility with a good record as opposed to one with a tainted image. Professional misconduct such as negligence can lead to loss of life, and institutions that have a history of neglecting patients are likely to be avoided by patients. Maintaining professionalism is a strong marketing tool that can enable a healthcare facility to remain competitive in the market without investing heavily in marketing.
Investing in healthcare is an expensive venture, especially for private investors due to the high cost of equipment and human resource. A lot of money can also be invested in marketing to ensure that potential clients are aware of the facility's existence. Despite all these efforts, unprofessional or unethical conduct can make people shun away from the facility leading to massive losses. Such investment should be protected in every possible with the cheapest being professionalism and adherence to ethical conduct. The nursing profession is sensitive to unethical practices and professional misconduct due to its nature of dealings with humans.
The role of nurses in their profession is to protect their patients' lives and eliminate their suffering, and any unacceptable conduct can compromise the delivery of the mandate. Unlike in other occupations where professionals can get away with misconduct, it is not as easy in nursing since it entails matters of life and death. Respect for the patient's rights should be prioritized, and nurses must seek to understand all of them as stipulated in the code of ethics. Confidentiality is one of the rights that nurses should uphold to build confidence between them and the patients.
When the patients are confident, they trust the nurses to the point of disclosing private information, which is critical for diagnosis. Ethical dilemmas that exist in nursing can place a healthcare provider in a situation where there are conflicting moral choices, and a decision has to be made. The issue of informed consent raises such a dilemma as the patient may opt for a treatment option that may not be appropriate. In such a situation, the nurse must learn to respect the patient's choice and adhere to it irrespective of whether there is a better option that the patient did not choose.
American Nurses’ Association. (2016). The nurse’s role in ethics and human rights: protecting and promoting individual worth, dignity, and human rights in practice settings, Retrieved 28th Jul 2020 from https://www.nursingworld.org/~4af078/globalassets/docs/ana/ethics/ethics-and-human-rights-protecting-and-promoting-final-formatted-20161130.pdf
Lisa M. & Robin A. (2020). Nursing Ethical Considerations, StatPearls Publishing LLC https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526054/
Manti, S., & Licari, A. (2018). How to obtain informed consent for research. breathe, 14(2), 145-152. doi:10.1183/20734735.001918
Roberta H. & Allison S. (Jan 2017). Ethical context of nursing research, evid based nurs 20 (1) 7 https://ebn.bmj.com/content/ebnurs/20/1/7.full.pdf
Epstein B, Turner M. (2015 May 31). The Nursing Code of Ethics: Its Value, Its History. Online J Issues Nurs. 20(2):4.