ANA and Ethics
The latest American Nurses Association (ANA) Code of Ethics was introduced in 2015 to provide vital updates to the document and also to celebrate the 25-year anniversary of the organization (Badzek & Desmond, 2015). That year was also proclaimed the Year of Ethics by ANA together with the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (Harris, 2015). According to Badzek and Desmond (2015), the key changes in the code were concerned with the results of technological development and discussed the research concerns.
The specific provisions of ANA (2015) have changed in details but not in essence (Badzek, & Turner, 2015); the organization still promotes respect for human dignity and rights, nurse commitment and advocacy, self-respect, ethical research, improvement of the environment, and other values. The nine provisions of the Code of Ethics define these terms and become the specific guidelines for maintaining ethical conduct.
Also, ANA (2016) has devoted particular statements for certain controversial issues including, for example, euthanasia, therapeutic marijuana use, or stem cell research. Similarly, ANA (2016) has separate statements for the most significant aspects of ethics, including privacy and confidentiality. To sum up, ANA has a very extensive set of guidelines, which means that if an ethical issue occurs, ANA will have specific, coherent instructions on how to perceive and assess it and what actions to take with respect to it.
ANA and My Organization: A Comparison of Ethics Principles
I am working in a regional trauma center with 417 beds in Miami, Florida. Our ethical guidelines were among the first things that I learned about our organization. I would like to say that they are very familiar to those of ANA; in fact, it appears to me that our center has used the ANA code of ethics as the basis. So far, I have not noticed significant discrepancies between the ethical guidelines of my organization and ANA, which I consider to be a positive thing. Indeed, the fact that the ANA Code of Ethics is of primary importance for modern nurses is universally accepted (Badzek & Desmond, 2015; Badzek, & Turner, 2015; Harris, 2015; Ivey, 2015).
However, it is also noteworthy that not every nurse finds the time and desire to review it (Harris, 2015). At the same time, it is well-known that ethics tends to change, and the transformations of our worlds are also capable of affecting it (Badzek & Desmond, 2015). As a result, I am proud to see that our organization does not only promote ethical conduct which appears to correspond to that of ANA (2015) but also updates it. Also, I have also noticed that more experienced nurses tend to share the knowledge with the less experienced ones, and I recall at least several tips on ethical practice as well (Ivey, 2015). As a result, I think that we have good potential in the terms of ethical guidelines and practices.
However, I am not certain that these guidelines are being properly maintained. In fact, I would like to point out that not every one of the guidelines is easily measurable, which means that they may be difficult to monitor.
For example, ethical misconduct in the terms of professional boundaries is apparently unethical, but unfortunately, it may remain unreported. While we are all requested to adhere to the code of ethics, it is not always possible to ensure its implementation. Admittedly, it is not an issue proper; rather, it is a concern. As for the specific controversial ethical issues, we do have the necessary guidelines and rules on determining ethical or unethical conduct, which facilitates the process of issue investigation and assessment in our organization and the determination of the subsequent course of actions.
ANA. (2015). Code of Ethics for Nurses With Interpretive Statements. Web.
ANA. (2016). Ethics of Nursing Practice. Web.
Badzek, L., & Desmond, K. (2015). Issues up close. American Nurse Today, 10(9), 16-17. Web.
Badzek, L., & Turner, M.J. (2015). 2015 Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements: Summary of Revisions to the 2001 Code. American Nurse Today, 10(3), 18-19.
Harris, K. (2015). Nursing Practice Implications of The Year of Ethics. Nursing For Women’s Health, 19(2), 119-122. Web.
Ivey, J. (2015). What Matters? Values and Ethics in Nurses. Pediatric Nursing, 41(4), 187-195.