The code of ethics of the American Nurses Association (ANA) is comprised of 11 separate points. The application of three of these 11 points is discussed in this review. These three points are as follows:
1. The nurse provides services with respect for human dignity and the uniqueness of the client unrestricted by considerations of social or economic status, personal attributes, or the nature of health problems.
2. The nurse safeguards the client's right to privacy by judiciously protecting information of a confidential nature.
3. The nurse acts to safeguard the client and the public when health care and safety are affected by the incompetent, unethical, or illegal practice of any person.
With respect to each of the three points of the ANA code of ethics, the review covers three areas of interest. The first area covered is the interpretation of this writer of the meaning of the ethical point. The second area covered is a description of an incident from the practice experience of this writer of a situation wherein the ethical point was relevant. The third area covered is the assessment of this writer from an ethical perspective of the behavior of the participant or participants in the practice experience incident described.
To this writer, the ethical point in the ANA code holding that the nurse provides services with respect for human dignity and the uniqueness of the client unrestricted by considerations of social or economic status, personal attributes, or the nature of health problems means, in effect, that nursing ethics requires that a professional nurse extend care to all patients without any consideration for the nurse's personal feelings about the patient or her or his medical condition. The one reservation that this writer believes to be an ethical restriction on the extension of care to a patient is a situation wherein to extend such care would endanger the safety of the nurse herself or himself. As an...