Ethics and values are a huge part of our daily personal and professional way of being. Values provide the framework upon which we distinguish between right and wrong and therefore guide responses in either the action taken or the emotion felt. Velasquez, Andres, Shanks, and Meyer (1987) have defined ethics as a “well based standard of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues.”
Origin of my Ethics
I would attribute the development of my core values to the influence of my parents, teaching, education over the years and lived experiences. Reflecting on my core values the following list defines what guides my daily personal and professional practices: family, integrity, respect, excellence responsibility and accomplishment.
Ethics in my Profession
In my professional practice, the Canadian Nurses Association provides a Code of Ethics for all Registered Nurses. The purpose of the code is to provide nurses’ a frame for ethical practice and are specific values and ethical responsibilities expected of registered nurses in Canada.
The CNA Code of ethics assists nurses to practice using ethically appropriate behaviour and acts to support ethical decision making with the application of seven key expectations. In general, the seven core principles guide: relationships, behaviours, responsibilities and decision-making related to professional conduct. In addition, as nursing is a self-regulated profession these core principles are used in self-reflection and peer review to assist with decision making and professional growth.
The code also provides transparency for other health-care professionals, families, and the public on the ethical commitments and responsibilities nurses take in a self-regulating profession which is important when dealing with health care issues and direct client care.
I don’t think however; the CAN Code of Ethics alone is enough to guide and support an ethical nursing practice. I believe it is the integration of my own core values with the seven elements of the CAN Code of Ethics that have allowed me to practice ethically.
Canadian Nurses Association, (2008). Code of Ethics. Retrieved from: https://www.cna-aiic.ca/~/media/cna/files/en/codeofethics.pdf
Velasquez, M., Andre, C., Shanks, S.J., & Meyer, M. (1987). What is ethics? Journal of Issues in Ethics, 1, 623-635.