Nurses’ Code of Ethics and Decision-Making

In everyday activities, according to official duties, the professional ethics of a nurse comes to the fore of skill. It complies with ethical principles that a nurse demonstrates her high professionalism in any situation. American Nurses Association states: “Nurses are always accountable for their judgments, decisions, and actions” (2015, p.16). A nurse should show ethics concerning any patient, for example, such as Mr. B. This patient suffers from a mental disorder, diabetes, and his leg is rotting. He refuses the operation, but judges, doctors, and nurses strongly advise him to perform a leg amputation operation and stay in a nursing home. This paper aims to discuss the ethical principles of this case, the consequences of the cancellation of the decision, and review the recommendations of the code of ethics for nurses.

The patient categorically refuses to perform a leg amputation operation, even though amputation will help prolong life. Nurses are involved in various activities related to patients and their health, including communication with patients regarding their disease and treatment (Asmirajanti et al., 2019). Patient’s refusal is because he has no interest in the future and does not want to spend time in a nursing home. In this case, a nurse’s ethical principles should be guided by should be the following principles. First, non-harm, that is, the nurse should not act like this, then the patient may suffer mentally or physically during these actions (Butts & Rich, 2020). In this case, the nurse should not insist on the operation or force him to do it in a conversation with the patient.

The second is respect for autonomy, which means that each patient can make decisions independently without the help of medical workers. This principle is quite controversial since it goes beyond the patient’s individual care and focuses on caring for the entire population. The patient should be given the right to make a decision independently and not influence him. In addition, the principle of favor applies in this case, which is that nurses should make decisions that the patient himself chose. If Mr. B. refuses to amputate his leg and forcibly stay in a nursing home for the rest of his life, nurses should treat such a decision favorably.

If the patient has decided to refuse to amputate his leg and stay in a nursing home, various consequences may arise. The social consequence is that it will be difficult for the patient to be with a sick leg, alone in his house. In addition, the patient has a mental disorder, which can also harm his lonely existence in general. The economic consequence is that the state will not allocate additional money to maintain this patient in a nursing home and for amputation surgery.

In Provision 2 of the Code of Ethics for Nurses, there is a clause that the patient’s interests should be the main one. That is, nurses should make sure that patients become active participants in the process of their treatment, and nurses strive to listen to patients. In the case of Mr. B., the nurses should also listen to his wishes not to remove the rotting leg and not force him to a life that he categorically does not want. The guidelines contain articles on respecting the dignity of patients, observing the boundaries between nurses and patients, as well as an article on preserving professional values. In this case, this can be interpreted because the patient has his right to make a decision, which nurses should respect, and nurses should also tell about all the risks for the patient, but not influence his decision.

My values and fundamental ethical beliefs in this situation can have a positive impact on my professional growth. This is because each case gives an authentic practice of conducting negotiations with complex patients and helps apply the previously acquired knowledge. In addition, I am happy to help people and select the most appropriate care and treatment for them, which will have a beneficial effect on their health and feelings.

In conclusion, the code of ethics of nurses has a relatively large number of different provisions aimed at promoting the recovery of the patient. In addition, it is necessary to have their ethical values and beliefs to help patients undergo stressful treatment and be ready for any decision they make. The consequences can be different, and some may be obvious to nurses but not to patients. Even in this case, the nurse should be guided by the code of ethics and not pressure the patient.


American Nurses Association. (2015). Code of ethics for nurses.

Asmirajanti, M., Hamid, A. and Hariyati, R. (2019). Nursing care activities based on documentation. BMC Nursing, 18(32), 1-5. Web.

Butts, J. and Rich, K. (2020). Nursing ethics. Jones & Bartlett Learning.

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