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The nursing profession works to keep people healthy, which is a basic human need. Understanding human values and morality is essential if nurses are to provide much-needed assistance. The paper examines nursing ethical concepts. It also looks at how ethics, morals, and values differ in nursing practice.
Nursing ethics principles establish the norms and criteria for making nursing judgments. Beneficience and fairness are examples of such concepts. The notion of beneficence relates to nurses' desire for doing what is right. Following this philosophy, nurses act in their patients' best interests, promoting good and minimizing damage. Thus, we define beneficence as acting to prevent evil or harm to the patient by protecting one’s rights and at the same time promoting his/her wellbeing. In life, people demonstrate beneficence by helping others, for instance, helping an elderly cross a road. In nursing practice, a patient may refuse to attend surgery without a justifiable reason. If the nurses perceive that the patient’s decision may lead to harm, they should uphold beneficence by going ahead with the operation.
The other ethical principle is justice. Justice carries the idea of giving each person his or her due. Upholding justice requires that nurses do not deny patients at their rights. All people have a right to life. It is, therefore, important that nurses will be objective in their attitude towards patients. They should desire to serve the interests of all their clients irrespective of the different provision of resources. For instance, a patient may be in need of an operation but is uninsured. In such a case, the nurses can uphold the principle of justice by not denying him/her the operation. Also, a patient may be underinsured but in need of healthcare. By upholding justice, the nurses will not delay the time to help to the patient because he or she is underinsured.
Ethics in nursing is the code of conduct that establishes what is right and wrong. By applying ethics nurses can use their judgment reasonably. On the one hand, morality requires nurses to distinguish what is good and evil and then follow what is right. Love and respect for life inspire morality in nursing. For instance, a morally responsible nurse will not help a patient to procure an abortion. On the other hand, values are the qualities that are cherished and considered useful in the nursing practice. Such values include acting with kindness and compassion in providing safe and high-quality care.
Nurses exhibit kindness and compassion in their delivery of care by going beyond the technical requirements of their job. In cases, when nurses are discharging their responsibilities, the care they give is not limited to treatment only but extends to psychological, social, and spiritual needs of the patient. The other significant value to nursing is competency in their care. Nurses provide knowledge-based care which is high quality. They show competency in care by applying best practices in their work.
Social-cultural factors such as customs and stereotypes pose a challenge to nurses in their compliance with ethical standards. For instance, some customs do not allow males to serve females. Such traditions inhibit the ability of male nurses to offer quality care to women patients. Also, some cultures have stereotyped men as strong and thus do not allow them to take pain reducing medication. Taking such drugs is viewed as a weakness. In such a situation, it becomes difficult for a nurse to act in the best interest of the patient.
To practice in a professional way, nurses have to balance between ethical considerations and professional values. As a matter of principle, the actions of nurses should always be fair and beneficial to the patient.
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