The duty of any medical professional is to provide assistance to a patient at the highest professional level and never, under any pretext, participate in actions directed against people’s physical and mental health. Taking into account the most crucial role in modern society of the most popular of the medical professions – a nurse, there was a need to develop a code of ethics. This code of ethics describes the role of a nurse and the obligations and limitations of the occupation (Gaines, 2021). Regularly, the regulations are not followed, which creates significant problems and may increase mortality rates. Hence, this paper will address one of the ethical issues of nurses and illustrate them with an example from my practice.
One of the significant issues for me as a nurse is veracity because telling the truth to the patient and their family contributes to improved connections and better health outcomes. Withholding important information regarding one’s health is morally wrong, while lying is utterly unacceptable. I witnessed some cases in my nursing practice when one of my colleagues would not tell the patient about a potentially fatal diagnosis (cancer) due to the unwillingness to frustrate a person. Instead, she said they should make an appointment with an oncologist to check if there are any tumors in their lungs. I consider this ethically unacceptable since it contradicts the primary principle in the code of nursing ethics regarding promoting and advocating for patients’ health and safety. It is evident that lies can cause adverse health outcomes (Gaines, 2021). If the deception presumes harm, it contradicts the tenet of non-harming individuals.
While witnessing that situation, I have developed a conflict between my personal and professional moral views. As a human, I realized how emotionally painful it would be to be informed of such a disease. I thought that my colleague’s statement was hopeful since she never confirmed a patient had cancer. Nevertheless, my professional perspective was the opposite since lying to a patient is morally wrong. As a nurse, I viewed my colleague’s deed as utterly unprofessionally and ethically contradictory. One lying could cause a fatal outcome and a bad reputation for the center I was working in.
However, the issue was resolved once I reported to the center’s administration. I had to file an anonymous report in order to keep it private. As a result, my colleague was interrogated and subsequently fired since the violation of the code of ethics was unacceptable in practice. The patient was also notified of their diagnosis and recommended to undergo special treatment. After learning the code of ethics, I would not have done anything differently because we are accountable for patients’ health and cannot cause any physical or mental harm.
The outpatient surgical center I work for abided by the code of ethics. The center’s administration has set a number of policies regarding ethical behavior and measures to be taken in case moral norms are violated. They are primarily aimed at establishing appropriate and ethically suitable decisions nurses can make in order to help their patients. Hence, they allow their personnel to fill in anonymous reports about contradictory cases.
In summary, the nurse is a prosperous and highly-respectable profession in modern society. The code of nursing ethics regulates the norms within the nursing community, providing the guidelines and restrictions of ethical behavior. One essential provision relates to advocating for people’s health and safety, presuming to tell the truth in any case. Once this tenet is violated, there is a high chance of adverse health outcomes.
Gaines, K. (2021). What is the nursing code of ethics? Nurse.org. Web.