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A system of principles governing the conduct of a nurse.Nursing ethics deals with the relationship of a nurse to the patient, the patient's family, associates and fellow nurses, and society at large.
Application of ethics can be objective or relative, depending.
Objective ethical reasoning implies that a situation has a clear right or wrong course, such as the decision to administer emergency care to a patient in need.
From these theories, ethical principles have developed to guide judgements on how to care for patients.
Ethical dilemmas are commonly seen in nursing practice, where a decision to treat a patient may be associated with potential benefits and risks.
Patients should make decisions regarding their care or act intentionally, without being controlled or excessively coerced.
Nurses may try to influence patients to adopt a particular treatment strategy when that is the strategy with the strongest evidence base, but must not prevent patients making their own decisions.
There is often a need to balance the potential for a treatment to do good and do harm, particularly when administering drugs with side effects, or in patients with complex care needs.
Balancing non-maleficence and beneficence is important, and requires careful consideration.
Weighing up these up should be guided by an ethical framework or set of principles.
Nurses should understand how ethical principles apply to practice, to ensure that they comply with the professional values and expectations of their role.