There are nine provisions included in the ANA code of ethics. The provisions can be broken into three categories. The first category is the nurse’s ethical responsibilities to her patient which is provisions one through three. Second is the nurse’s obligation to herself, provisions four through six. The third ethical requirement for nurses is related to their relationship to the nursing profession, community, nation, and world overall. This focus is summarized in provisions seven through nine [ (American Nurses Association, 2013) ].
Provisions 1-3 The first three provisions relate to the nurse’s responsibility to treat everyone with dignity and respect regardless of that individual’s background, ethnicity, or the nature or severity of their illness, as well as making the patient the primary concern and advocating for them. There is absolutely no room for discrimination in the nursing profession. “One of the simplest principles of distributive justice is that of strict or radical equality.
The principle says that every person should have the same level of material goods and services” [ (Mason, Leavitt, & Chaffee, 2012, p. 83) ]. The Bible also supports the principle of treating others with dignity and respect as stated in 1 Pet 2:17a: “Show proper respect to everyone. ” Another aspect of treating everyone fairly relates to showing compassion. One of the Bible verses that speaks to the compassion we are to show others is 1 Peter 3:8 “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Nurses should always place their patients first. I have seen many nurses over the years that have placed their own jobs and even careers in jeopardy to stand up to a physician or an organization to fight for what is right for a patient. The Bible tells us to not only care for others but to put their needs before our own. Phil. 2:3-4 states “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Lastly, the role of nursing advocate has long been crucial in intervening for the best interest of a patient when they cannot speak for themselves. Provisions 4-6 The second category of provisions relates to the nurse’s responsibility to maintain their own proficiency and health environments, delegate appropriately, preserve integrity, and keep their practice and competence current.
It is crucial that nurses are proficient and maintain competency in order to deliver high quality care to patients. The virtue of professional competence calls for continual professional growth and a commitment to lifelong learning. You must practice nursing that’s evidence-based, be knowledgeable about the scope and standards of nursing practice, and have the necessary skills to perform nursing tasks effectively” [ (Lachman, 2008, p. 44) ]. Integrity is a vital quality as a nurse related to the fact that patients literally entrust their lives to their healthcare team. According to Proverbs 10:9 “whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out. God is pleased with a person of integrity. I Chronicles 29:17a states “I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. ” Nurses have the ethical obligation to maintain competence and proficiency, and as Christians, they also are morally bound to develop the virtues of honesty and integrity. Provisions 7-9 The third category highlights the nurse’s ethical responsibility to contribute to the practice of nursing, to the health needs throughout the community and nation as a whole, and to uphold nursing values by participating in nursing organizations.
According to Mason et al. (2012) nurses have the opportunity to intervene in health care development and can assist in shaping solutions, both as individuals, and as a member of a team through the influence of an organization. There are many scriptures that encourage believers to help support their community and to care for those around them. James 1:27 states, “religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. Caring for those who have needs, as is illustrated by orphans and widows in this passage is a crucial part of showing Christ’s love. Nurses have the unique opportunity to reach out to the community specifically related to health care, and not only is it our ethical duty, it is required of us as children of God. Summary Nurses have the ethical duty to care for patients through a variety of facets as described by the ANA code of ethics.
Treating others with dignity and respect, showing compassion, and developing personal integrity are also mandates for Christians. There are many parallels between the nurse’s code of ethics and God’s expectations of how mankind should treat each other. Nurses have frequent interactions with those in need, often on multiple levels such as physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Following ethical principles allows nurses to deliver high quality, effective care to patients.