Values, Morals, and Ethics in Nursing Practice

In the nursing profession, values are described as the feelings of nurses towards patients. It can also be viewed as those actions that nurses should take when handling a patient. Values are thoughts and perceptions that nurses develop during the process of treatment or while providing healthcare to sick people. The major benefit of values in nursing is that they help in making rational decisions in any particular situation. Ethics are the prevailing principles in the conduct of nurses. They are the fundamental values that enable nurses to act righteously while doing their work. For example, when faced with problems at work, ethics will provide guidelines for the right course of action. In addition, ethics helps nurses to give the best services to their patients since they develop specific rules and regulations that they follow in their work.

Kennedy (1999) states that morals act as guidelines in the nursing profession that help nurses in making the right decisions. However, there are some cases where personal values, beliefs, and viewpoints conflict with obligations to serve. This creates an ethical dilemma while practicing nursing. For instance, consider a situation where a patient who is in critical condition is put in a life-supporting machine. According to ethical standards, a sick person has the right to life, and he or she should be given all the necessary support. On the other hand, a nurse believes that a person should live naturally. This means that living with the help of a life-supporting machine is not right. An ethical dilemma created here is whether to continue supporting the patient’s life with a machine or leave him or her to perish.

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