Search for school

What You need to Know about Nursing Ethics

As most medical professionals know, their ethics are just as important as their competence, especially when it comes to ethics in nursing. Nurses have more intimate contact with the patient than any other medical personnel.

The Code of Ethics developed by the American Nurses Association is imperative knowledge, but sometimes these broader standards become harder to discern on a day-to-day basis. In this article, some of the most prevalent areas of ethical dilemmas in nursing are addressed on a practical level.

Job Security and Ethics in Nursing

Even though the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 587,000 new jobs for registered nurses (RNs) by 2016, ethics in nursing are still the first priority when it comes to a profession in nursing. If ethical principles in nursing are not followed, no matter how high in demand your job is, your career path may end up on the chopping block.

Ethics in nursing are clearly defined by codes and college classes in nursing ethics, but the shape that they take are malleable depending on the beliefs, values, and experiences of each individual nurse. Thus, a decision may vary according each individual situation.

No one likes having his or her credentials or ethics under fire, but sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between an ethical violation and a simple interaction with someone out of the nurse-patient realm. A good rule of thumb is to error on the side of caution anytime you are concerned.

This article addresses five of the most common issues of ethics in nursing.

•Whistle blowing
•Social Media and Privacy
•Prescription Drug Abuse
•Distorting or Withholding the Prognosis
•Science vs. Religion

Whistle blowing

The movies tend to portray whistleblowers as courageous heroes against the tobacco industry or fighting for child labor laws. The hero that stands up for the rights of employees and inevitably humanity is glorified.

Unfortunately, even with the extra provisions in the health care environment, whistle blowing is still an issue—one that is viewed with disdain by employers and in some cases the public. These issues usually come up due to one of three things:

•Fraud
•Incompetent practitioners
•Patient safety

Most nurses are faced with the decision to stand up for what is right leading to resignation or termination.
Remember that you are not alone. Organizations such as the Whistleblower Center and Freedom to Care exist in order to improve accountability of employers.

Social Media and Privacy

Nurses are required to adhere to a strict code of conduct in regards to privacy of the patient. Only in the case of bodily harm to another, abuse, or communicable diseases will the privacy of the individual patient be compromised.

Social media such as Facebook and Twitter encourage interaction concerning day-to-day events. Sadly, some RNs may get carried away on the network and break codes of ethics by sharing experiences at work. In this case, the line between cyberspace and reality is clearly drawn. Even if you are vaguely referring to something, you are in violation of ethical principles in nursing.

Prescription Drug Abuse

Statistics of drug abuse in the nursing field are hard to pin down. Oftentimes, drug addiction is treated with silence.

The American Nurses Association reports that approximately ten percent of nurses have a drug addiction. This figure means that as many as 300,000 RNs may abuse drugs. To put this in perspective, one in ten nurses in an office may abuse drugs. Approximately five to ten percent of nurses have reported trying patient medication at one time.

In April of 1998, The American Journal of Public Health reported that it was especially prevalent in critical care, oncology, and psychiatry.

Distorting or Withholding the Prognosis

Undoubtedly, when a patient asks for information about their medical condition, medical practitioners must tell them the reality of the situation; however, the patient’s family may have legal rights over the patient and choose not to tell them of a fatal or harmful prognosis.

What happens when the patient’s family and friends insist that revealing the prognosis is harmful to the patient?

Science vs. Religion

Several examples may conflict with science.

•Pro-choice vs. Pro-life
•Patient chooses an option that causes self-harm
•Religious beliefs that refuse blood transfusions or life support
•What happens when these beliefs and values are in disagreement with science?

Making a right or wrong choice can be both difficult and subjective. Make sure you protect yourself. Whenever there is any question about the proper way to handle a situation, contact your state association or seek help from upper management.

Nursing Scholarships

American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN) American Cancer Society Doctoral Degree Scholarships in Cancer Nursing Gallagher Student Health Careers Scholarship
The Gates Millenium Scholars (GMS) National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA)
New Careers in Nursing (NCIN) Nurse Corps Scholarship (NCS) Nurses of Tomorrow
Nursing Economics Foundation Tylenol Future Care Scholarship American Holistic Nurses Association

Kaplan University

Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education.

Programs:

  • BS in Health and Wellness
  • Medical Assisting
  • MS in Nursing
  • And more...

Colorado Technical University Online

A degree from CTU connects you to what matters most: powerful professional network, real-world professional faculty and innovative technology. Once you earn your degree you hit the ground running.

Programs:

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Nursing Administration
  • Master of Science in Management - Healthcare Management
  • Master of Science in Healthcare Management - Informatics
  • And more...

South University

Several nursing programs are available at the bachelor's, post-graduate, master's, and doctoral levels.

Programs:

  • Nursing (BS)
  • Healthcare Management (BS)

South University, Online Programs

As a student at South University, Online Programs you will receive the same quality instruction, variety of learning options and level of service found at the campus locations.

Programs:

  • Nursing (RN to BSN)
  • RN to Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in Family Nurse Practitioner (RN-MSN)
  • RN to Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (RN-MSN)
  • And more...

Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University

Located in the heart of Washington, D.C. the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University is dedicated to advancing the health of local, national and global communities.

You need to have a Bachelor’s degree to be qualified for this school.

Programs:

  • Executive Master of Health Administration

Kaplan University

Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education.

Programs:

  • BS in Health and Wellness
  • Medical Assisting
  • MS in Nursing
  • And more...

Southern New Hampshire University

Give your career a boost with an education from Southern New Hampshire University.

Programs:

  • BS Health Science
  • MS Nursing
  • MS Nursing: Patient Safety and Quality
  • And more...

Northcentral University

Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.

Programs:

  • PhD - Addictions
  • PhD - Gerontology
  • PhD - Trauma and Disaster Relief
  • And more...

Brightwood College

About Brightwood College

Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.

Programs:

  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Billing & Coding Specialist

Bryant & Stratton College

There are a lot of reasons Bryant & Stratton College is the place to get an education.

Programs:

  • AAS Medical Assisting
  • BS Nursing Generalist
  • AAS/ADN Nursing
  • And more...

Platt College

Turn your talents into a career at nationally recognized and accredited Platt College.

Programs:

  • Healthcare Management

South University

As a student at South University, you will have the opportunity to learn from accomplished faculty members who have real-world experience in the subjects that they teach. Our small class sizes allow you to receive personalized attention from instructors, and the encouragement to recognize your goals for the future and the means to achieve them.

Programs:

  • Nursing (BS)
  • Healthcare Management (BS)

Centura College

Centura College, with campus locations in Virginia, South Carolina and Florida.

Programs:

  • Associate of Occupational Science Degree in Medical Assisting-Clinical Concentration
  • Practical Nursing Diploma
  • Dental Assistant Diploma

American InterContinental University Online

You’re serious about success. With your busy schedule and the desire to move your career forward, you can earn an accredited associate, bachelors or master’s degree at a pace that works for you anywhere, anytime, 24/7.

At AIU, the Serious U, you can get started to get ahead.

Programs:

  • Master's – Healthcare Management

Virginia College

Set your career in motion at Virginia College.

Programs:

  • AAS - Medical Assistant
  • DIP - Medical Assistant
  • DIP - Medical Billing and Coding
  • And more...

Related Post

Inmate Jay Allen Herman, 37, of Middletown, Calif., right, gets treated for a diabetic condition by Dulcelena Solorio, a registered nurses in the new Triage and Treatment Area at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, Thursday, June 14, 2007. The federal receiver who controls California's inmate medical system opened a new $1.6 million emergency room for San Quentin State Prison's 6,000 inmates Thursday, offering it as a model for the expensive modernization he said is needed throughout the nation's largest state prison system.(AP Photo/ Eric Risberg)

How to Obtain a Career in Correctional Nursing

Choosing to become a corrections nurse is a decision that should not be taken lightly. A corrections nurse is responsible for attending to inmates at correctional facilities across the country.
Young smiling doctor standing in hospital with colleagues talking to patient in background

Why Taking a NCLEX Refresher Course is Important

Every licensed nurse in the United States has gone through the grueling experience of taking the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX, and most likely every nurse can verify that an NCLEX