In 2014, CorrectionalNurse.Net reviewed the changes to the Nurse’s Code of Ethics proposed at that time by the American Nurses Association (ANA). The revisions were, indeed, accepted by the ANA with slight changes, and were published in 2015 as the second edition to ANA’s Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements. Because correctional nurses are faced with ethical issues in daily practice, an understanding of the moral code of our profession is vital. In addition, the Code is foundational to our Correctional Nurse: Scope and Standards of Practice. What better time to review our personal and professional Code of Ethics than the beginning of a new year?
The preface to the Code identifies its three purposes. It is:
- A statement of the ethical values, obligations, duties, and professional ideals of nurses individually and collectively.
- 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 Code of Ethics for Nurses. Below find the 9 Provisions of our Nursing Code of Ethics. They are further explained through interpretive statements articulated in the Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements, that can be accessed online by everyone free of charge.
The nurse practices with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth, and personal attributes of every person.
The nurse’s primary commitment is to the patient, whether an individual, family, group, community, or population.
The nurse promotes, advocates for, and protects the rights, health and safety of the patient.
The nurse has authority, accountability, and responsibility for nursing practice; makes decisions; and takes action consistent with the obligation to promote health and provide optimal care.
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.
The nurse, through individual and collective action, establishes, maintains, and improves the ethical environment of the work setting and the conditions of employment that are conducive to safe, quality health care.
The nurse, in all roles and settings, advances the profession through research and scholarly inquiry, professional standards development, and generation of both nursing and health policy.
The nurse collaborates with other health professionals and the public to protect human rights, promote health diplomacy, and reduce health disparities.
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.
So, how will you embody our Code of Ethics in your practice? Share your thoughts in the comments section of this post.