Since nursing’s modern-day foundation by Florence Nightingale, members of the profession have hoped to achieve high ethical standards. Nightingale entered nursing at a point when there were no ethical standards in nursing. Florence Nightingale tried not only to change society’s image of nursing but additionally to express to those wanting to enter the profession that only those of high ethical standards were called to be nurses. The Nightingale Pledge written by Lystra Gretter in 1893 (Numminen .,2010).
Nursing is a caring profession which has its relevance and direct impact on the life, health and well-being of individuals. Nursing profession is guided by both ethics and legal principles as they are tools for professional discipline which gives the nurse a broad concept of what is expected of her. Ethics are related in concepts such as rights and justice have both ethical and legal importance. They are both instruments of regulation and prescriptions on how nurses ought to act in response to one another (Danjuma & Adeleke,2015) .
Ethics is vital in nursing and is involved with providing services that impact on human life , health and some of the situations the nurse encounters in practice pose issues that if not well handled may impact negatively on the patient and all who are concerned in health care setting .Nursing mission is to offer high quality health care to the patient, maintaining and improving community health .Ethics is considered as an crucial element of all health care professions including nursing. Thus, it has a central role in nurses’ ethical behavior toward patients which strongly influences on patients’ health (Joolaee & Bakhshande,2010).
Nurses as a member of the health system are responsible for providing care to the patients based on ethical issues. Nowadays, in the changing world nurses need ethical knowledge/awareness for appropriate performance, management of the situations and providing safe and appropriate legal and ethical services(Chitty & Black,2007).
Nursing in health care system is still not recognized as a system based on service with leadership as a key component. The leadership role of head nurses in the hospital suffers due to the professional power of physicians and lack of public trust in the nurse’s profession. However, the ethics on nursing makes it clear that nurses need to act as leaders to perform their duties and responsibilities. Nursing leadership is a major issue at all levels of nursing and there is a scarcity of nursing staff( Zydziunaite,2013).
Professional ethics are the performance standards that are accepted by the professional and specialist group. These ethics are the base ground of nursing performance, the director of the nurses’ interaction with the patients, colleagues, other professionals and the public .Also as a guideline for ethical behavior to provide security, humanitarian care and providing a common framework for meeting professional requirements or standards(Parandeh,2014).
Evaluating awareness and compliance of professional ethics among staff nurses, head nurses and patients ‘ perspective can establish helpful information for providing more effective strategies to integrate and utilize professional ethics in health care setting . Ethical compliance to care is an integral part of nursing practice in nurse-patient relationship( Dehghani,2015).
Nursing ethics might also be considered as competency in nurses without any direct impact on their clinical activities which could be separated from practical duties of nursing. However, such ethics are highly interwoven with clinical practices that cannot be alienated from them ( Dehghani ,2015).
As opined by Donkor & Andrews ,(2011), there also appears to be little attempt on assessing the knowledge base of nurses on the ethics of their practice, low level of monitoring on ethics of the nurses practice, poor motivation for ethical nurses and unprinted sanctions for violators of nursing ethics. At the same time, such practice must acknowledge the ethical standards related to the institutional setting and cultural environment in which the practice takes place.
Ethical behavior and responsibility with nurses has a significant role in improving the patient's health. Professional ethics are observance of ethical standards in nursing profession that in order to comply with these standards, nurses’ beliefs and behaviors. The implementation of nursing care based on professional ethics leading to increased patient satisfaction and the well-being index because it is compliance with the code of professional ethics . Observance of ethical standards in nursing practice leads to improvement of nursing services and improve the quality of nurses' work has a significant impact on improving patient recovery ( Nia & Khalili ,2016).
Ethical behavior causes the health services more effective and more pleasant to the patient so to separate the ethical and non-ethical behaviors in any place. The same values should be defined. These equal values are known as ethical codes. Codes of professional ethics cause the ideal performance of nursing staff, awareness of society about the ethical standards and totally making a health system. It is necessary to know that social values should be noticed besides the main ethical values which are equal all around the world (Zabetlan,2015).
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