Did you know that the American Nurses Association convened a panel of experts to review and revise the ethical code that guides our profession? They have completed the draft of an all-new Code of Ethics. Public comment opened on May 6 and will stay active through June 6, 2014. This is a major milestone for our profession as the Code has not been revised since 2001. As I dig into the various changes, I will be posting on what I find over this next month. Head on over to the link above and download your own copy of the review draft. Join me in a dialog on what is in store and how it applies to our specialty.
Correctional nurses run into ethical issues in daily practice so an understanding to the moral code of our profession is vital. The preface to the Code identifies three purposes:
- A statement of ethical obligation and duties of every nurse
- A non-negotiable professional ethical standard
- An expression of our commitment to society
With such major implications and application to correctional nursing practice, it is important to understand the proposed changes to the Code of Ethics for Nurses! To start, let’s compare the current code’s 9 ethical statements with those proposed in the public comment draft.
2001: The nurse, in all professional relationships, practices with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth, and uniqueness of every individual, unrestricted by considerations of social or economic status, personal attributes, or the nature of health problems.
Proposed 2014: The nurse practices with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth, and personal attributes of every person, without prejudice.
Change: Removes the uniqueness of every individual and replaces with personal attributes of every person. Uses the term prejudice instead of listing considerations of status, attributes or problems.
2001: The nurse’s primary commitment is to the patient, whether an individual, family, group, or community.
Proposed 2014: The nurse’s primary commitment is to the patient, whether an individual, family, group, community, or population.
Change: Adds population to the list describing the term patient.
2001: The nurse promotes, advocates for, and strives to protect the health, safety, and rights of the patient.
Proposed 2014: The nurse promotes, advocates for, and protects the rights, health and safety of the patient.
Change: Removes ‘strive’ (indicates a stronger responsibility) and changes the order of protection (indicates patient rights have pre-eminence over health and safety).
2001: The nurse is responsible and accountable for individual nursing practice and determines the appropriate delegation of tasks consistent with the nurse’s obligation to provide optimum patient care.
Proposed 2014: The nurse has authority, accountability, and responsibility for nursing practice, makes decisions, and takes action consistent with the obligation to provide optimal care.
Change: Adds authority and eliminates notation of delegation. Adds authority, accountability and responsibility for decisions.
2001: The nurse owes the same duties to self as to others, including the responsibility to preserve integrity and safety, to maintain competence, and to continue personal and professional growth.
Proposed 2014: The nurse owes the same duties to self as to others, including the responsibility to promote health and safety, preserve wholeness of character and integrity, maintain competence, and continue personal and professional growth.
Change: Changes duty from preserve to promote and prioritizes health followed by wholeness of character and integrity.
2001: The nurse participates in establishing, maintaining, and improving health care environments and conditions of employment conducive to the provision of quality health care and consistent with the values of the profession through individual and collective action.
Proposed 2014: The nurse, through individual and collective action, establishes, maintains, and improves the moral environment of the work setting and the conditions of employment, conducive to quality health care.
Change: Emphasizes the moral environment of work.
2001: The nurse participates in the advancement of the profession through contributions to practice, education, administration, and knowledge development
Proposed 2014: The nurse, whether in research, practice, education, or administration, contributes to the advancement of the profession through research and scholarly inquiry, professional standards development, and generation of nursing and health policies.
Change: Greater emphasis on research and scholarly inquiry as an ethical obligation.
2001: The nurse collaborates with other health professionals and the public in promoting community, national, and international efforts to meet health needs.
Proposed 2014: The nurse collaborates with other health professionals and the public to protect and promote human rights, health diplomacy, and health initiatives.
Change: Changes the general terms of ‘efforts to meet health needs’ and clarifies that nurses both protect and promote human rights, health diplomacy, and health initiatives.
2001: The profession of nursing, as represented by associations and their members, is responsible for articulating nursing values, for maintaining the integrity of the profession and its practice, and for shaping social policy.
Proposed 2014: The profession of nursing, collectively through its professional organizations, must articulate nursing values, maintain the integrity of the profession, and integrate principles of social justice into nursing and health policy.
Change: Emphasizes the nurse’s role in social justice and health policy, rather than social policy.
So, what do you think? Are these big changes or not so much? Share your thoughts in the comments section of this post.
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