The nursing code of ethics is a guideline that is in place to maintain some level of uniformity in the nursing profession - the very essence of the nursing code.
The nursing world is a big one, and nursing practices quite diverse. Reading nursing magazines, you may note that nursing practices may vary significantly between two countries, two states, two cities, or even between two institutions in the same area.
In your day-to-day practice of nursing, you will come across people of different personalities, different race, different creeds, and different cultures.
At times, dealing with these diverse people may prove to be very challenging. This is one reason why the nursing code of ethics was put in place.
It aims to set standards in the practice of nursing, which should be observed in all institutions providing nursing care. The nursing code of ethics, first and foremost, calls on nurses to perform their duties well, regardless of their patients’ race, religion, or gender, and not undermining basic human rights; while at the same time, maintaining good relationships with other members of the healthcare team.
Noting the above provision of the code of ethics, one may realize the prime importance of these guidelines. It not only deals with the relationship between the nurse and his or her patients, but it also gives emphasis on the nurses’ dealings in all professional relationships.
The ethics code takes into consideration the fact that nurses deal with other health professionals, and it is very important to maintain good working relationships with them in order to be able to provide the patient with the utmost care that they need, and the attention that their medical conditions demand – which, in the first place, is the calling of nurses.
Likewise, it is in line with this provision of the nursing code of ethics that the list of NANDA nursing diagnosis was established – to be able to standardize the diagnosis of patients in all health institutions, so as to facilitate referrals and prevent confusion in cases where the patient is to be referred to other institutions (or other services within the same hospital), either for a specific diagnostic procedure or for further management.
The ethics code also sets guidelines that would otherwise not have been included in established laws of a state.
These guidelines are very important when conflicts arise.
One can always turn to the code when trying to resolve issues concerning the practice of nursing.
It ensures that the standards of healthcare are always maintained; thus maintaining professionalism in the nursing field. One can therefore liken it to one of the symbols of nursing – the lamp – which guided Florence Nightingale in the inception of this noble profession...
Like the mother of nursing, Florence Nightingale, one should always strive to provide a caring hand to each and every patient; regardless of his or her personal stand on certain issues.
One should learn to be free from his or her own hang-ups, and should dedicate time in the service of mankind, without prejudice to race, religion, gender, political affiliations, or even sexual preferences.
One should learn to see patients only as another human being in suffering and in need of care and affection; something will come naturally and effortlessly when one sticks to the provisions of the nursing code of ethics!