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Saturday, 24 May 2014 12:51

Professional Moral Compass in Nursing Featured

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Professional Moral Compass in Nursing

A nurses’ professional moral conduct is essential as it plays a vital role in decision making processes. Nurses are often faced with tough situations where they have to make decisions that are ethical in nature. Ethical dilemmas arise when a nurse’s personal values, worldview and philosophy contradict each other. However, most nurses overcome ethical dilemmas in their line of duty by following the nurse’s code of ethics as provided by the American Nurses association. For this assignment, I will describe my professional moral compass and how it shapes my nursing practice.

 Philosophy, Morals, Ethics and Values in Nursing

 My nursing philosophy is to provide patients with holistic care ensuring that they recover physically, spiritually and emotionally. The nursing profession gives me an opportunity to make a difference is someone’s life. A patient depends on his or her nurse for care until he or she recovers. I, therefore, take pride in ensuring that patients and his immediate family receive quality care and are satisfied with the nursing services I render. My ability to provide holistic care lies in my ability to build a relationship with my patients (Ludwick, & Silva, 2000). A successful patient nurse relationship can be build based on trust. My patients have to trust my judgment and nursing practice. They also have to trust that all my actions are guided by my adherence to the ethical code of practice. As a nurse, I strive to maintain patient trust by providing patients with optimal and satisfactory patient care.

Personal cultural and spiritual values play a significant role of influencing nursing practice as it determines the nurses’ way of live and choices they make. Personal values are developed gradually from childhood, adolescence and adulthood. My personal values that I have integrated into nursing practice are respect, compassion and honesty. I handle all my patients and their next of kin with respect. I also exude compassion when handling my patients. I ensure that I encourage them to fight and remain strong so that they can overcome their illnesses. I am also honest in my practice as I prefer to give patients and their families a true picture of their medical condition. I also have a Christian religious background, and I use my religious beliefs to execute my nursing profession.

My Christian beliefs teach that we should practice love, honesty and accountability for actions. I execute these values in my nursing practice. I, for instance, take time to consider the consequences of all actions I undertake. This enables me to evaluate the potency of decisions before execution.Aspects of value, morals and ethics also play a considerable role in nursing practice. Values are enduring attitudes about the worth of a person, an idea or action. In nursing practice personal, professional and religious values influence the decision and actions that a nurse undertakes. Beliefs, on the other hand, represent the interpretations that a person holds as true (Murray, 2010). A person’s beliefs can be a source of conflict as they may differ/contradict with each other.

Finally, ethics refers to the rules that govern a nurse’s conduct. In nursing practice, ethical dilemmas occur when there is a difference is the perception of what is right and what is wrong. When faced with an ethical dilemma, in nursing practice, I normally resolve it by choosing the option that will result to minimal harm to a person. However, when I encounter complex ethical dilemmas, I often seek the guidance of physicians and the ethical committee so as to make the ethically appropriate decision. When, for instance, a patient refuses to take medication because he believes that his condition is incurable hence recovery is not an option, I seek the guidance of colleagues.

In conclusion, I value life and as a nurse I make it my priority to do all humanly possible so as to save the life of a patient. I believe the fundamental of nursing professional revolves around minimizing pain and suffering of patients, and upholding human dignity when handling patients (Ludwick, & Silva, 2000). I enjoy my nursing profession as I am able to apply my strong ethical, values and morals when handling patients. As a Christian, I believe every mankind has a purpose in life hence the need to safeguard life until when one has served his purpose. This personal philosophy has often been put to the test when executing my work as a nurse. 

Controversial issues such as abortion and end-of-life decision have always conflicted with my personal philosophy of upholding life. A patient has the right to decide whether he or she can end his life, as in the case of terminally ill patients. Similarly, a woman has the autonomy to decide whether to keep a pregnancy or have an abortion. Patients who choose to procure abortions or end their lives often leave me at conflict with my beliefs of life and not playing God by determining who lives and who dies. In such situations, I respect the patient’s wishes as prescribed in the nursing code of conduct. However, I engage other medical professionals in making such a decision. I also ensure that the patient is in the right mental status as the processes are irreversible.


Ludwick, R. & Silva, M. (2000). Ethics: Nursing around the world. The online journal of issues in nursing. Vol. 5(3)

Murray, J. (2010). Moral Courage in Healthcare: Acting Ethically Even in the Presence of Risk. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing.Vol. 15, No. 3


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