Ethics is the discipline that waits in the wings as a health-restoring resource when moral guidelines fail to do the job alone. Ethics provides a language, along with methods, and tools for evaluating the components of personal, societal, and group morality to create a better path for yourself and others. Some of its most important uses are to clarify, organize, and critique morality to highlight what does and does not fit in a particular situation (Purtilo, 2011).
A nurse cultivates personal ethics through personal, cultural, and spiritual values which becomes a moral compass for their professional ethics.
Personal ethics in combination with the code of ethics often assist the nurses in personal and social decision making during ethical dilemma. This ability prompts them to better respond to needs of the suffering patient and their own well-being. Nursing ethics shares many principles with medical ethics such as beneficence, non-maleficience, and respect for autonomy.
Nursing ethics however, can be distinguished by its emphasis on relationships, collaborative care and human dignity, because the health care climate is regularly changing, as is our society, it is crucial that nurses have a grounded understanding of ethics (Ward, 2012).
Born in a middle-class Christian family from South India, the strict traditional values helped to embed the concept of service through family and friends who taught me trust, respect, integrity, and responsibility for my education and beliefs.
One of my major spiritual values that kindled the concept of service within me is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” which is found in the Bible.
At an early age I started to practice this concept by not only self-respect for myself but mainly treating others with respect. Individuals may build their moral values from listening to their parents, grandparents, religious beliefs, friends, books, their local societal values and even watching television. Moral values and enthusiasm help an individual to understand one’s accountability to their profession to deliver harmless, a compassionate work atmosphere.
This empowers nurses to raise their self-confidence in their profession. Maintaining the existing responsibilities in the nursing field is vibrant to assist patients, families, and the general public. Our ethnic standards play a big role in nursing life. Nurses however should not be judgmental of patient’s beliefs and force their own beliefs in patient care. Hospitals under Joint Commission are responsible for addressing and maintaining patient’s privileges. These privileges include the accommodation; divine, mystical, particular Cultural values and follows while providing care to patients from diverse faiths.
Nurses must have reverence and not put down the patient’s faith and values, and provide care consistently. Being acquainted with a variety of different cultures, languages, and religions influence worldly views and nursing decisions in providing culturally sensitive care. The traditional spiritual and cultural morals along with diverse worldviews became the directorial moral compass to take the right decision on behalf of the patients and personal life and empowered to improve the confidence and capability as a nurse.
Values, Morals, and Ethics are often thought of as interweaved and to have the same denotation when each of solely have a different meaning for themselves. Values are one’s fundamental beliefs developed from childhood through family and society. Morals are values that attribute to a system of beliefs. Values are the language that has evolved to identify intrinsic things a person, group, or society holds dear. Not all values are moral values either. For instance, some things are cherished for their beauty, novelty, or efficiency they bring to our lives (Purtilo, 2011).
When values, morals, and ethics of nurse influence his or her professional conduct, it often tips to conflicting situation in one’s nursing practices. For example, the topic of abortion is frowned upon when looked at from a spiritual Christian standpoint. When a nurses’ spiritual doctrine is against abortion, it would be against their moral to assist in decision making to abort the baby even when the fetus is deformed, thus arising an ethical dilemma between personal values and coming to an ethical conclusion on aborting the baby.
Hospital management may develop a strong Code of Ethics in order to help regulate and maintain a professional atmosphere for nurses so that their decision making will be easier when they incur ethical dilemmas. A Code of Ethics not only serves as a guideline for nurses but also sets a standard for them to abide by. Being in the nursing field my tasks vary from caring, communicating, teaching, bedside care, and even advocating therefore the likelihood of ethical dilemmas are inescapable. Thus far I haven’t been faced with any major ethical dilemmas that would violate my spiritual doctrines that I uphold.
Most commonly the ethical dilemmas I’ve seen care providers face are usually due to religious and spiritual backgrounds of the patient. Some religions do not support induced death by humans and nurses may have trouble supporting the patient and family about cases like abortion. Although it is the individual’s right to make decisions about their bodies, the religious values do not allow one to be apart of the procedure. Therefore when I’ve been in minor ethical dilemmas while being a care provider I go by what is medically and ethically correct.
Nurses are an important element of the health care field because their decisions along with commitment play an essential role for the welfare and safety of humanity. If their decision making is based on personal, cultural, and spiritual values then at times they may be faced with an ethical dilemma. In situations where they’re beliefs may be tested, nurses are expected to either follow the Code of Ethics set out by their management or they should be professional and do what is medically right in order to deliver quality care.
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