Technology underscores value of nursing code of ethics

In a profession continually ranked above all others for honesty and ethics, ongoing discussions about delivering quality care with strong integrity and principles is essential.

For 17 consecutive years, nurses have been named the most honest and ethical profession in Gallup polls, most recently earning the title in December 2018.

“In general, nurses enter the profession because they want to help people,” said Maria Morales, MSN, RN, CPAN, director of clinical education, content, at Relias. “Many had a personal or family experience that inspired them to enter healthcare to assist others through health situations. One typically does not enter the nursing field for fame or fortune, but rather as a way to serve others. It’s heartwarming to see how the public respects and honors the servant leadership of nurses.”

But even with the confidence of patients and the public, maintaining the nursing code of ethics standards is an ever-evolving process.

Advances in medicine, technology, end-of-life care, health insurance and other issues are transforming the way healthcare is delivered, making ethics an important consideration.

Among the provisions in the American Nurses Association Nursing Code of Ethics is to practice with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth and unique attributes of every person.

Social media nursing ethics to consider

For many nurses, social media serves as a tool to make healthcare more efficient while improving collaboration and communication among peers worldwide. This can have a great impact as nurses connect and exchange information, ideas and best practices. It can also bring to question patient privacy.

The ANA offers principles for social networking related to the nursing code of ethics that remind nurses:

  • Not to transmit or post any identifiable patient information.
  • Be aware that patients, colleagues, organizations and employers may view postings.
  • To report any content that could harm a patient’s privacy, rights or welfare.

“Nurses need to be aware of the professional reputation they’re creating for themselves, and how they’re using online tools,” Robert Fraser, MN, RN, a primary care nurse, author and digital health strategist from Toronto told HealthLeaders Media in an August 2018 article. “Social media does provide new opportunities and new ways of approaching how we communicate, but nurses need to reflect on their professional identity and their professional expectations within the workplace.”

Two CNAs at a Glenview, Ill., nursing home were recently fired after posting a video to SnapChat of a 91-year-old dementia patient being teased over not wanting to wear a gown, according to WGN. The woman’s family is suing the nursing home.

“This was a sick game the two CNAs decided to play for their own enjoyment,” attorney John Perconti, who is representing the woman’s family in the lawsuit, told the TV station. “By filing this lawsuit and pursuing this lawsuit, we will prevent this from happening to other individuals in this facility as well as other facilities.”

With constant access to smartphones in the workplace, inappropriate communication such as a text or post that might seem innocent or even personal and unrelated to the job could be cause …read more

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