Friday, April 9, 2010

Nursing School Ethics

Most professions, particularly the helping professions, have a code of ethics that should be followed to ensure that the people being assisted are not taken advantage of. Nurses are also bound by an ethical code to ensure that they are adhering to a high standard of professional practice. There are a variety of topics covered within ethics in nursing. Some of the most discussed and debated topics are the right to choose treatment, maintaining confidentiality and allowing a patient to have informed consent.

The right to choose treatment sparks debate amongst many medical professionals and plays a great part in nursing ethics. A nurse ultimately wants the best for a patient at all times. When a medical professional presents a patient with a medical option it is up to the patient to decide whether or not they want to pursue it. Some patients decide that they would rather forgo helpful medical treatment. Sometimes this decision is made because the patient has endured an illness on a long term basis and would prefer to stop fighting the disease. The patient has made the decision to stop treatment and let the illness overcome their body. No matter how troubling this may seem to the nurse caring for a patient ultimately the patient has the right to accept or deny medical treatment as they see fit. A nurse must be able to accept the decisions his or her patient makes and continue to provide optimum care.

Maintaining confidentiality is another part of nursing ethics that is vitally important. Many medical professionals are constantly being reminded of the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of a patient’s medical information. There are specific forms that a nurse can have a patient sign to determine who can and cannot have access to personal medical information. Because there have been so many instances where people were discriminated against because of medical information it is important that a patient have the right to control who is privy to their medial information. Nurses are constantly placed in a position where they have to be very careful who they release a patient’s personal information to. Failure to maintain a patient’s confidentiality can result in major repercussions for both the hospital and the nurse who failed to uphold a patient’s right to confidentiality.

Informed consent is also a very important part of nursing ethics that is taught throughout all levels of nursing programs. Informed consent is when a patient signs a legal document detailing how they want medical treatment to be administered. This allows a patient to decide in the worse conditions what they would like to happen to them medically even if they are not able at the moment to decide because of deterioration in their health. A very well known informed consent is the DNR or do not resuscitate order which advises medical professions not to attempt life saving procedures. No matter how much a nurse or other medical professional would like to keep a patient alive to provide treatment, the proper ethical action is to allow the patient to die according to their written consent. Informed consents are documents that nurses push very hard to have completed in case of any complications while providing care. Informed consent makes adhering to nursing ethics somewhat less complicated as a person’s desires for his or health is clearly stated.

Following clearly defined ethical standards ensures that patients receive quality unbiased care.


Post a Comment