The nursing code of ethics sets forth expectations of conduct for members of the nursing profession. All USI nursing faculty and nursing students will adhere to the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics (ANA: Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements, Washington D.C., 2015, American Nurses Publishing).
ANA Code for Nurses:
The nurse practices with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth, and unique 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 to 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 effort, establishes, maintains, and improves the ethical environment of the work setting and 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 the 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 integrity of the profession, and integrate principles of social justice into nursing and health policy.
Copyright permission granted by ANA for the Code for Nurses
American Nurses' Association. 2015
Guiding principles and concepts deemed critical to appropriate professional behavior that will be demonstrated by all faculty, students and staff include:
Caring is empathetic concern for another person. This is demonstrated by active listening, appropriate touch, the nursing process, and assessing the person holistically and then integrating this information with nursing knowledge to select nursing interventions. Each nurse must also care for his/herself by actively engaging in activities to promote a healthy lifestyle. In the current technological health care environment, we must not lose the human contact that allows us to care for one another.
Tolerance and Respect are interrelated concepts. Tolerance is the acceptance of others regardless of age, race, gender, ethnicity, appearance, personal beliefs, political beliefs, religious beliefs, or sexualorientation. Tolerance mandates that nurses care for all patients with compassion and caring behaviors. It also involves the same kind of actions in relationships with others, including peers and colleagues. Respect enables the nurse to accept that all clients are unique and deserving of compassion and care, regardless of their beliefs or values. All persons are to be treated with respect.
Advocacy is the process of supporting a patient, family member, peer, colleague, group or community to assure that rights and safety are upheld. Nurses traditionally assume the role of advocate to support a person’s interests and rights. The concept of advocacy is also linked to the concept of autonomy, which is the right to make one’s own decisions. Advocacy is implemented based on the person’s wishes, even if in conflict with those of the nurse. Advocacy may involve speaking about a person’s expressed desire about care or lack of care when that person is unable to do so.
Accountability and Responsibility denote the obligation to a certain standard of care owed to another along with the integrity to be answerable for all actions and decisions involved. Upholding the principles of accountability and responsibility, a professional can always say “I took these actions, because of my clinical judgment, based on evidence and standards of practice”. On the occasion that any action or decision is not therapeutic or desirable, a professional will admit responsibility so that measures to rectify the consequence or prevent recurrence of such incidences may be instituted.
Students and faculty will be held accountable for not only their actions, but also their words and any written communication. Truthful documentation of patient assessments and nursing actions is necessary for maintenance of patient health and well-being.
Integrity is the adherence to a code of behavior. Professionals behave according to the values, beliefs, and principles they hold and those set forth by their discipline. Hallmarks of integrity are honesty, trust, respect, high ethical standards, and sustained moral character. Integrity is also expected in the learning environment. Students are expected to demonstrate honesty and integrity in the submission of classroom and clinical assignments and assessments. Cheating, plagiarizing or assisting others in such activities are unacceptable behaviors. Awareness of any of these activities without disclosure to an appropriate authority is also not acceptable. Further description of these unethical behaviors is found in the USI Nursing Handbooks. All are considered unethical and will not be tolerated.
Decision Making and Delegation is the process completed to ensure the safety of patients, staff and self and to provide competent nursing care to patients, groups, and/or communities. The nursing process is used to make clinical decisions in the care of all patients. A fundamental principle that underlies all decision making is the respect for human worth and the unique needs and values of each patient, group or community.
Decision making is directed toward meeting the holistic needs of the patient, group, or community through the effective use of the health care interprofessional team.
Delegation, a part of decision making, is the “transfer of responsibility for the performance of a task from one individual to another” (American Nurses Association). Decisions made about nursing care include the appropriate use of the interprofessional team and the delegation of responsibilities within the scope of practice for each member of the team.
Competence is “the application of knowledge and the interpersonal, decision-making and psychomotor skills expected for the practice role, within the context of public health, safety, and welfare” (National Council of State Boards of Nursing, year) Assurance of competence is the shared responsibility of the profession, regulatory bodies, employers, and other key stakeholders. The nurse is individually responsible and accountable for maintaining competence. Nursing competence protects the public and advances the profession through professional growth and development.
Professional Development and Growth refers to the fact that nursing professionals must constantly seek learning opportunities and engage in scholarship. The practice of nursing is constantly changing and the knowledge base expanding. As new information and evidence comes to light, nurses must make concerted efforts to obtain and utilize current information and evidence about providing safe, effective nursing care. This commitment to growth and scholarship is a life-long commitment, requiring continuous learning throughout one’s personal life and professional career.
Confidentiality addresses the right of individuals to privacy of information. In the clinical setting, confidential patient information includes information related to the past, present, or future physical or mental health and/or treatment. Nurses are responsible for protecting the privacy of information which may be available in the course of providing nursing care. Nurses often have access to very personal, private, intimate information about individuals and must protect that judiciously. Sharing information about a patient’s condition can occur only with the patient’s permission and informed consent unless disclosure is required by law. In addition, discussion of patient experiences or information outside of the appropriately restricted learning environment is absolutely prohibited and may be grounds for dismissal from the program. Discussion of patients, hospital personnel, or experiences in the clinical setting should not occur in any arena including Facebook, twitter, chat rooms, blogs, or any other type of social networking site. Students may access only the records of patients for whom they are providing care. Additionally, patient records may not be removed from a clinical agency, photocopied, or electronically transmitted. Any information that identifies a specific patient in the clinical setting must remain in that setting.
Faculty shall also maintain confidentiality in relationship to student status, progress, or concerns in the learning environment. Students have a right to expect that personal, medical, academic or other individual information will not be inappropriately shared with others.
Communication is the interpersonal sharing of information between people. Communication can be verbal or nonverbal. Effective communication is an essential part of nursing and interpersonal relationships. Communication with patients, families, peers, colleagues, and the community is an integral part of caring. Skillful nonverbal communication includes an awareness and understanding of what facial expression, body language, dress (image), etc. convey. Verbal communication consists of an awareness and understanding of the message words convey. Active listening is an awareness and ability to listen with focused attention.
Ethics embodies a moral philosophy of right and wrong behavior. Nursing professionals utilize the ANA Code of Ethics as a guide when faced with ethical decision-making. Nurses are expected to be accountable for their actions when confronted by conflicts in personal and professional situations but cannot let their own personal values and beliefs supersede those of the professional code of ethics when functioning in the nursing role.
Legal principles are the formal statements that have become public law and are enforceable under the law. Student nurses, faculty, and staff are responsible, accountable and personally liable for their actions and are expected to abide by legal guidelines. Nurses and student nurses have a legal obligation to provide safe and competent care for patients and others, fulfilling the obligation of contracted service with employer(s), and protect the rights of the recipients of care.
Professionalism/member of the profession involves presentation of professional behavior at all times when representing oneself as a member of the nursing profession in any capacity. Professionalism is apparent in behaviors, appearance, style and manner of dress, and in interactions with others. When in cohort groups, those who can be recognized by the lay public as nursing students, faculty or staff are expected to maintain an awareness of the aforementioned criteria and consistently demonstrate a professional demeanor. This includes, but is not limited to, improper use of alcohol in public places, inappropriate use of language, and behaviors that might be misconstrued as inappropriate or unprofessional.
Copyright permission granted by ANA for the Code for Nurses, American Nurses' Association, 2015