6.1 Ethical Practice Introduction

Learning Objectives

  • Recognize ethical dilemmas and take appropriate action
  • Practice in a manner consistent with a code of ethics for nurses
  • Compare and contrast theories of ethical decision-making
  • Examine resources to resolve ethical dilemmas
  • Examine competent practice within the legal/ethical/regulatory framework of health care
  • Defend the course of action or give a rationale for the action
  • Apply the ANA Code of Ethics to diverse situations in health care
  • Analyze the impact of cultural diversity in ethical decision-making
  • Identify advocacy as part of the nursing role when responding to ethical dilemmas

The nursing profession is guided by a code of ethics. As you practice nursing, how will you determine “right” from “wrong” actions? What is the difference between morality, values, and ethical principles? What additional considerations impact your ethical decision-making? What are ethical dilemmas and how should nurses participate in resolving them? This chapter answers these questions by reviewing concepts related to ethical nursing practice and describing how nurses can resolve ethical dilemmas. By the end of this chapter, you will be able to describe how to make ethical decisions using the Code of Ethics established by the American Nurses Association.


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