Ethics for Nurses

Powerful Essays
This hypothetical situation illustrates a common problem faced by nurses, as the roles we serve can be multifaceted and demanding. It is often tempting to cut corners, especially if we feel there will be no actual harm done. This, however, does not justify professional misconduct nor allow us to expand our practice beyond our designated scope. Not only do the Nursing Practice Acts define our role as nurses, they also designate what nurses may not do. The purpose of the Nurse Practice Acts is to protect the patient from harm. The Nurse Practice Acts state that the scope of nursing does not include acts of medical diagnosis or the prescription of therapeutic or corrective measures as stated in section 301.002. Thus, by signing prescriptions for the physician the nurse went beyond her scope of practice. The ANA states, “When acting within one's role as a professional, the nurse recognizes and maintains boundaries that establish appropriate limits to relationships."

Nurses must also abide by a code of ethics which can be found at the ANA website. Provision four states “the nurse is responsible and accountable for individual nursing practice and determines the appropriate delegation of tasks consistent with the nurse’s obligation to provide optimum care” (ANA code of ethics -2001). This means that the nurse is responsible for determining which tasks are appropriate. Even if the physician insists that she goes beyond her scope of practice it is still her responsibility to be accountable for her own actions. It is very important that nurses understand this standard since working under the hierarchy of a physician may make it tempting to follow their guidance rather than owning their own responsibilities.

Statement three in the co...

... middle of paper ... us as we provide care and in order to do so we must understand our scope of care. Going beyond this scope could lead to dangerous consequences for the patient and cost the nurse their license to practice.

Works Cited

American Nurses Association. Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements. Silver Spring, Md: American Nurses Association; 2001.

Code of Ethics for Nurses . (2001, January 1). American Nurses Association . Retrieved March 16, 2011, from

The Texas Board of Nursing,(2009). Nursing practice act. Nursing peer review, nurse licensure compact, & advanced practice registered nurse compact. Austin, TX

Watch your step: Nursing and professional boundaries. (2001, January 1). NursingCenter. Retrieved March 16, 2011, from
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