The Ethical Issues Of Nurses

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Nurses are required to make important ethical decisions every day. Some of these challenging decisions are made about sensitive controversial ethical issues. Nurses are establishing a gratitude for personal and diverse view points on ethics. Often these ethical instructions are not clear, which has led to open channel of communication between healthcare professionals. Nurses must do more than practice ethics based on individual beliefs, intuition, or unexamined suggestions by other parties. They must develop an understanding of the available concepts, approaches, theories, and principles used to distinguish and analyze many of these challenging ethical dilemmas we as healthcare professionals face today.
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Florence Nightingale was single-handedly responsible for changing not just the way nursing is conducted, but also changing public perception of the nursing profession. In the years since Nightingale established nursing as a serious and legitimate profession, many theories have been developed that continue to codify and define what nursing is and how nurses can best serve their patients. At the core of all these theories remains the most important concept Nightingale established: nurses must have a “single eye to the patient’s good” (Hoyt, 2010).
The foundational part of Nightingale’s approach to nursing was strict adherence to a code of ethics. Nightingale insisted that her students be “sober and truthful” (Hoyt, 2010) and that they treat patients in an ethical manner. Nightingale instructed her students to treat patients with honesty, and to give them truthful and accurate information about the nature of their conditions. Nightingale believed it was important to be honest with patients about their conditions, and to not give them false hope when their situation was in fact dire (Andrist et al, 2006). In this way, she believed, patients were able to make the best decisions for themselves about the nature of their care and how they should deal with their conditions. This core set of ethical principles continues to inform the development of nursing theories to this day.
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